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The VH Podcast, Episode 10: Ascorbic Acid vs. Whole Food Vitamin C (and why we should NOT take the first one) // deliciousobsessions.com

Welcome back to another episode of The Vibrant Health Podcast! I am SUPER excited about today’s talk because it is mind-blowing information. Stuff that until about two months ago, I had no clue about!

  • Did you know there is a major difference between ascorbic acid and whole food forms of vitamin C?
  • Did you know that taking ascorbic acid is like taking an antibiotic!?
  • Did you know that ascorbic acid is dangerous to take in most cases and the best way to get our vitamin C is through food and food-based supplements?

I bet you didn’t (I didn’t either!) and today Lydia gives us a thorough education on why we need to change our views on what form of vitamin C we consume.

So, let’s not waste and time! Tune in below!

Missed previous episodes? You can find them all here.

Links From This Week’s Episode:

Listen to The Vibrant Health Podcast :: Episode 10

Read The Vibrant Health Podcast Transcript :: Episode 10

Jessica: Hey everyone. Welcome to episode number 10 of the Vibrant Health Podcast. I am Jessica from DeliciousObsessions.com and I’m here with my co-host, Lydia of DivineHealthfromtheInsideOut.com.

Today, we want to talk about vitamin C and specifically we’re going to talk about whole food vitamin c versus ascorbic acid, which is what most of us are familiar with whenever you think about vitamin C and if your vitamin C supplement is going to be typically in ascorbic acid form.

We actually brought up the topic of vitamin C in episode number eight of the podcast when we talked about really knowing the supplementation and we had actually mentioned that we were going to do a follow up podcast on vitamin C because it’s so important. So we are here today to talk about that.

Lydia, do you want to say hi to everybody and then talk a little bit about vitamin C and why it’s so important?

Lydia: Yeah, absolutely. Hey everyone. Thanks for stopping and listening today. I would love to tell you more about vitamin C.

Vitamin C may quite possibly be the single most essential anti-stress nutrient there is. Why is that so? Well, not only does it offer cellular protection and immune support, which most of us are familiar with, but it provides adrenal support to help produce more cortisone and epinephrine. I bet you didn’t know that.

Jessica: Nope.

Lydia: The adrenals actually store the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body. And the more cortisone made in the body, the more vitamin C is used up. What does that mean? The more stress you live in, the more vitamin C your body needs.

So we all need a lot of vitamin C, right? And I talked about this before. Most everyone is in some type of adrenal stress, so it’s pretty darn important.

Vitamin C is water soluble and it gets used up really quickly by the body. So it’s imperative to get it in the diet. We also can’t make it, so we have to get it in the diet. And most people are not consuming enough for their body’s needs. It’s also going to be destroyed easily by heat. So there goes another thing.

It’s really critical to supplement, especially if you live a stressful life. Who doesn’t? And we all know stress is a big factor in adrenal fatigue.

Okay. So vitamin C is actually a complex vitamin. It’s not just like this one thing. It’s got complex molecules and it also contains P, K and J factors. There is a tyrosinase enzyme – I don’t know if I’m saying that right – and it needs 14 bioflavonoids, various ascorbigens, five copper ions, iron, manganese, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium and ascorbic acid.

Let me pause for one second. You guys all know vitamin C as ascorbic acid in supplement form because the majority of supplements on the market are ascorbic acid when it comes to vitamin C. Vitamin C is actually really complex like I just said. And there are probably dozens if not maybe hundreds of other nutrients present in this molecule that we really haven’t yet discovered.

So whole food C versus ascorbic acid today is what we’re going to get into. We can’t make it like I said, so we really have to get it from our food. What if you’re not getting it from your food? Well, most people aren’t getting enough. There’s actually no evidence that fragments of the molecule has any of the same effects as the whole C molecule. Again, this is going back to the ascorbic acid.

The ascorbic acid is actually a pro-oxidant. It’s not an anti-oxidant. So it actually can cause oxidation in the body. It’s like rust on the car bumper.

Ascorbic acid – this is going to rattle some people here – is more like an antibiotic than it is a vitamin. So basically it’s more like a drug. Now there are going to be times when it could be okay and beneficial to use ascorbic acid short term. It may have an appropriate use at times, but it’s not the entire vitamin C. It actually can deplete vitamin C.

Houston, we have a problem.

Jessica: Yeah, a big one.

Lydia: So I had to share this with you because I was not taught this information way back when. And so I may have stirred people wrong in the past with my vitamin C recommendations and now I’m here to rectify that and help other people see this because it’s important. Actually, it’s really important.

Jessica: Yeah, I feel bad too. I have that post on my site. It’s one of the most popular posts on my site, How to make liposomal Vitamin C. And I was making it for myself and then I wrote a post on it and it’s made with ascorbic acid. So now I feel really bad about that. I’m going to have to rectify that as well with the new information.

Lydia: We have to remember, when you know better, do better. So here we are. We know better now and we are out just to make sure you guys know this too.

Vitamin C is actually a complex vitamin and it deserves to be better understood so that people aren’t just out there grabbing supplements that contain ascorbic acid and missing out on the plethora of other nutrients that they’re not going to be getting from the strip-down version and actually maybe doing themselves some harm.

Now I’ve been working with people. I’ve been doing nutritional therapy for a couple of years and there are so many types of supplements out there and we have talked about this recently in another podcast. There are lots of supplements that will add some vitamin C to them because we know the benefits of vitamin C, but it’s usually in the form of ascorbic acid.

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go to your supplement cabinet. I don’t want you to throw everything away, but I want you to look what you’re buying and check the labels and find out if you’re getting all ascorbic acid. And then maybe start to shift away and make some changes.

So maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh! I don’t want to hear this.” But here I am, busting more health myths. I’m not doing this to upset people and make you mad at me or anything, but I want you to know because it’s really important and I have made it a priority in my practice to work with people only through whole food C.

Jessica: Yeah. It’s something that I just recently transitioned to probably I think maybe three months ago. I was still on the ascorbic acid. So you started teaching me about the whole food form. Yeah, it just blows my mind that for all these years, I’ve been taking the wrong form of vitamin C.

Lydia: Yeah. Not ascorbic acid made from GMO corn or anything like that, which often is. So vitamin C, not ascorbic acid, but vitamin C, the whole food form actually will help to regenerate the activity of selenium and selenium-rich proteins and our thyroid hormone production requires selenium. It also requires a couple of other things, [inaudible 00:09:00], whole food C and copper.

Okay. Don’t go around and get all the supplements, you guys. Just listen here. The body can’t utilize copper. It can’t metabolize cholesterol. It can’t make hemoglobin and a host of other biochemical essentials without whole food vitamin C.

Jessica: Wow.

Lydia: That’s not all, there’s more. It’s really amazing, right? Everything the human body does biochemically depends on these basic factors that we need. We need clean pure water, we need minerals and we need whole food vitamin C.

And it actually could be considered one of the most important vitamin nutrients available to us as humans, but only in whole food form again. I’m going to keep saying that.

It’s actually the one vitamin deficiency in a severe form will eventually kill you. Do you remember the stories of the – gosh, I’m going to lose it because I’m not really great with history. But do you remember how we have sauerkraut in the ships?

Jessica: Yes, sailors were often getting scurvy and they would bring – I was just thinking about that. Actually whenever you had mentioned that, they would have the sauerkraut or I remember one time reading that they would actually have barrels of oranges that they were in an area where they could get oranges. And it would essentially ferment while it was on the ship, but they would keep it with them because they knew.

This is before modern medicine and all the stuff. They knew the importance of vitamin C.

And they didn’t have ascorbic acid, so they were eating it in a whole form because they knew the risk of getting scurvy and how detrimental that would be. So yeah, I was thinking about the exact same thing when you were talking about all of that.

Lydia: Right. So again, I want to say vitamin C is usually destroyed by heat. It really is tough to get it in the diet if you’re not eating vitamin C rich foods that are in their raw form.

Again that’s just one more thing going against us.

Fermented foods are great, but not everybody’s doing that. Fresh citrus fruits are great, but again it’s only dependent on how healthy the source is and then there are people who don’t tolerate citrus. There are all kinds of things. So it’s good to know so you can know how to get it in for you, that works for you.

Here’s the thing when you take ascorbic acid to ward off a cold, you’re actually getting an antibiotic or drug-like effect of the drug, ascorbic acid, not a vitamin C. You’re actually depleting the whole food molecule, the real vitamin C complex molecule. So you end up shunting it out with all its other beneficial parts in your urine without leaving anything good behind. So I don’t know how it’s really helping people long term. That’s scary to me.

Jessica: Yeah.

Lydia: The other thing that maybe we aren’t aware of – and it’s really something I am seeing as a bigger important thing that I had no clue about in the past mainly because I’m doing hair analysis now and I’m looking at all these issues we have with copper. Ascorbic acid blocks ceruloplasmin production in liver.

Jessica: Okay. What is the role of ceruloplasmin?

Lydia: This deficiency will end up preventing the binding of copper to make it bio available. So copper, we have a lot of people who have bound copper stored in their body that they can access.

Some people will call it copper toxicity maybe. That’s maybe not the best way to say it, but it helps you to see that you’ve got this thing in your body you don’t need, so in a way it can be toxic to you. So what we really want to do is make sure that the body can use it. And if we can’t use it, then we got a problem.

My clients who know – they’ve gone through their hair analysis and we’ve talked about the copper conundrum, which we won’t go in that today. Most people have bio unavailable copper in their body, which is a big problem. And some people have excess of copper, but it’s usually the opposite and it’s usually bio unavailable to them.

So they can’t use it and copper is pretty important. Maybe that’s for another podcast.

Jessica: It sounds like it.

Lydia: And I probably won’t do it justice because it’s very complex. But let’s talk about some symptoms of maybe vitamin C deficiency or what we might call scurvy.

Thin skin, frequent bruising, so many people have that. My kids do. Bleeding from old wounds or even scars. Maybe you get bleeding gums or swollen gums that are dark colored, maybe purple even. Pale skin, even fatigue, thinning hair, premature graying, poor wound healing, weak tissues, even elevated cholesterol, muscle joint aches and pains and connective tissue weakness.

Jessica: Interesting. You were just talking in the last episode about the proper exercise for adrenal fatigue and you were talking about how adrenal fatigue can play a role in muscle and joint aches and injuries and stuff like that. So couple that with some vitamin C deficiency and boy.

Lydia: Exactly. And there’s even more. There’s some cool stuff. For your thyroid, actually thyroid hormone can’t be produced by the thyroid gland without vitamin C also. And actually – I just learned this – most type one hypothyroidism could probably be related to chronic C deficiency.

Jessica: Wow.

Lydia: I know, right? Could it really be that simple? Well, maybe or maybe not. But it suffices to say, vitamin C is a big deal.

Jessica: Yeah.

Lydia: It regenerates the selenium protein essential for thyroid health as well as facilitating your copper utilization in the body. And it’s necessary for the formation of thyroid hormones. That’s pretty important.

Then if you combine the combination of vitamin C deficiency with selenium deficiency which most people have. I haven’t seen one single person with adequate selenium. These two combine as the recipe for developing possible hypothyroidism. You’re not going to be able to produce these hormones properly without these building blocks.

Jessica: Those are some foods for thought for myself and for a lot of people.

Lydia: Yeah. And we’re out there trying to figure it out by all these tasks and taking hormones. There’s a place for that, but sometimes we need to get to the foundations, ma’am. So this is something to look at for sure. Definitely look at this stuff. It’s definitely a big deal.

Another thing, a little tidbit about copper that I didn’t say earlier was that our bodies can’t utilize copper without the whole food vitamin C molecules. If you have this copper accumulation, those kinds of things, it actually could be a sign of vitamin C deficiency because you have this poor copper utilization. I will say that many women have excessive copper in their body that they can’t access and it can cause so many problems, problems with your cycle, problems with so many things.

It’s a big deal. So I’m just going to stop there because it’s a really broad deep subject, but it’s something that touches on people maybe or where that it even is a problem to begin with.

Jessica: Right. This is great. So now that we know that we should not take ascorbic acid, we definitely want to make sure that the supplement that we are taking doesn’t contain any ascorbic acid in it. How are you recommending people get the whole food vitamin C for their diet? Is that just another supplement they need to buy? Are there other ways that they can do it?

Lydia: Okay. Some ways you can get more whole food C into your life. We don’t necessarily have to supplement with a pill. I think it would be a good idea for many people because of the way their lifestyle can get busy. It’s like an insurance policy.

I do like whole food C capsules. And if you’re going to go ahead and start using these supplements, please just go really slow. Take one on your first day if you’re going to try it.

Make sure it works for you because in the off chances it doesn’t, I don’t want anyone to get mad at me. There are people who react, so again just go slow, try it out and better yet work with somebody if you can.

But yes, you can get whole food C capsules. There are a number of good brands out there. One that I can say for sure that I like is called Pure Synergy. That’s one good brand.

There are also a lot of really great berry powders. So a couple of examples would be something like Acerola. That’s a berry. Or rose hip even and camu camu is another one.

So those are a couple of powders. Usually they’re done at low heat like dehydrated or whatever and powdered so that they retain that vitamin C. So they’re not being heated up.

Another would be maybe some organic berries like really good quality berries grown by a farmer that’s taking good care of the soil and not spraying them or anything like that. And you really don’t need a lot. Usually, I give my kids a small little bowl of berries every morning. That’s part of our routine. Even fresh juices, maybe veggie juices, so vegetables that maybe have more vitamin C would be nice if you tolerate them.

If you are fermenting foods, properly fermented sauerkraut has some good vitamin C in it.

And there may even be some multivitamins out there that do have whole food C. If you’re taking a multi, check yours out. Make sure it has whole food C. Maybe it will have Acerola or something in it, but make sure it’s not ascorbic acid.

Jessica: Okay, awesome. Yeah, anything can be – the Pure Synergy brand, I don’t think they’re capsules, but I take the powder. I actually don’t really mind the taste of it. So I take the powder. I think it’s more cost-effective than the capsules.

It really just depends on your lifestyle and your ability. For people who are working, the capsules are going to be much more convenient. I’m at home, so I just set my reminders on my phone.

I’m actually taking six doses per day right now because I just got my amalgams removed a few weeks back. So the whole vitamin C ups my dose to help with some of that detox, supporting my detox pathway. I’m taking the powder six times a day. I have a reminders set on my phone to go and take it throughout the day.

I also really like that Pure Synergy one. And I think I have a bag of the camu camu powder and I have tried the Acerola before. So yeah, I can vouch for all those. And we’ll put links to everything so you guys don’t have to go hunt them down. Just check out the links in the blog posts about these.

Lydia: Yeah, this is great information. I appreciate you sharing it. Yeah, I think we can all benefit from having some whole food C powder on hand. I do a little bit of everything.

I do like the capsules for when I’m busy because it’s just a little easier to just throw down some capsules. But I do keep the powder on hand because you can add it to so many things, especially if you have kids who aren’t taking pills yet. I’m a mom and I have a bunch of kids, so I think that way too. So I’ll throw it in smoothies or homemade popsicles. I even have put it in salad dressing. And you could probably Google and find a bunch of people out there who have created these homemade vitamin C gummies to make sure it’s whole food C by the way.

So there are a lot of possible ways. If it becomes something that you’re more intuitive about getting vitamin C in throughout the day, always remember that heat destroys this precious vitamin complex. So make sure it’s raw foods, dehydrated berry powders.

And we use it up really quickly in the body. So you don’t need mega doses. You just want to take small amounts. And if you can take it with every meal, that’s probably the best baseline.

But say you have a health issue – Jessica is going through this recovery right now. So she’s taking a little bit more. So just keep that in mind. That’s how your body works and uses the vitamin C.

Jessica: Yeah, this is great info. I will definitely have to update my post on my website and spread the word and help other people learn about the differences between the two. I really didn’t know that vitamin C was so complex.

I should have known that it was more than just ascorbic acid. I mean you can’t isolate even specific nutrients. Whole foods are always best. I don’t know why it never resonated with me that just taking ascorbic acid may not have been the best idea. So this is great stuff.

Lydia: Yeah. We’re more looking at it like, “Oh, I need a vitamin and this is how it has come, in the pill form.” So we have this mindset these days. But traditionally speaking, nobody thought that way. They needed to see real food and thankfully back then it was more nutrient dense than it is these days.

One last little tidbit and then I guess you can wrap it up – I don’t think I said this specifically – is that the adrenal glands love vitamin C. In fact, the concentration of vitamin C is actually the highest in the adrenal glands than anywhere else in the body. It’s actually 100 times that of the concentration in the blood.

Jessica: Wow.

Lydia: So don’t forget, stress depletes it. The adrenals are going to be very sensitive to inadequate vitamin C in the body. So if you have adrenal fatigue – we talk about this a lot – you’re going to want to consider this for your health recovery.

Jessica: Awesome, great information. Thank you so much for sharing that with us today. So we will leave you on that note. So go check your cabinets and look for ascorbic acid and then just start transitioning away from that.

We know supplements are expensive, so we’re not saying go throw all your supplements in the trash. Just start letting this percolate in your brain and then you can start making a better decision for the whole food C the next time you have to buy some supplements.
Hopefully that information has been helpful. Check out the links from the podcast and we will be back again next week with another episode. So have a great day everybody. Bye.


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