Functions of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the better known vitamins with an array of important functions in the diet.   It is needed for normal growth and development and is well known for its antioxidant and immune defence properties helping to reduce the longevity and intensity of cold’s and flu’s.  It also stimulates the production of liver detoxifying enzymes that help remove toxic waste products from the body, including environmental chemicals you may have been exposed to.   However, in recent years, it seems that Vitamin C is even more amazing than we had thought. Research has found a link between Vitamin C consumption and the reduction of both emotional and psychological effects of stress in people.

Stress response and Vitamin C

In times of stress the immune system suffers greatly.  Vitamin C is rapidly used up by the adrenal glands in the production of adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol, when an individual is confronted with a stressful situation. In adrenal fatigue, your adrenal glands panic when they don’t have enough Vitamin C available, and try to release more cortisol. This not only increases your immediate anxiety, but if prolonged, wreaks havoc on your blood sugar and blood pressure and contributes to the accumulation of abdominal fat.  Cortisol also suppresses the immune system during this stress response.

How much do I need?

The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C for adults is 45 milligrams which can be obtained by eating one orange. Recent research, however, is showing that higher levels of Vitamin C may be required in our current lifestyle to maintain overall wellbeing and that doses of 1000mg during high levels of stress are more effective.  An unstable substance, Vitamin C is greatly reduced by cooking and exposure to light, so it’s important to include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, which are naturally high in Vitamin C.  Some good food sources include broccoli, blackcurrants, sprouts, kale, strawberries, apples, kiwi fruit and of course all citrus fruit.  So, increase your intake of Vitamin C this Xmas season for a boost of good health.

Written by Lisa Stegena, Nutritionist

Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programsprivate dietetic consultationschildren’s nutrition & dietetics,  school nutrition and  Corporate Wellness programs.  If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.

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