Vitamin C is being reintroduced into the diet

On Nutrition: Vitamin C Revisited

This week, experts from the Linus Pauling Institute hosted a fascinating discussion on vitamin C. You may recall Dr. Linus Pauling, a brilliant but divisive chemist who wrote numerous books and articles on the importance of vitamin C and other minerals in human health. This type of research is still being done at Oregon State University’s institute that bears his name.

However, the webinar opened my eyes to a whole new field of research. Instead of addressing vitamin C and the common cold, University of Kansas researchers Dr. Jeanne Drisko and Qi Chen, Ph.D. are investigating the potential of vitamin C infusions to treat disorders such as cancer.

As bizarre as it may sound, these researchers have discovered evidence that administering massive dosages of vitamin C intravenously (via veins) causes the vitamin to function as a medication rather than a nutrient.

Though still in its infancy, this technique is yielding promising results in the treatment of certain health disorders. Keep an eye out for updates as we learn more from larger clinical trials.

Vitamin C, on the other hand, is still an essential nutrient. So much so that I learned this from the Institute’s 100 Questions on Vitamin C:

Do we consume enough vitamin C in our diets to maintain a healthy immune system?

Perhaps not. Experts recommend taking a daily multivitamin with vitamin C in addition to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in vitamin C, such as kiwi, citrus fruit, and bell peppers.

Is it better to consume vitamin C in natural or synthetic form?

Both versions are chemically identical, and our bodies are unable to distinguish between them. Science does not support claims that “natural vitamin C” is superior.

Furthermore, lesser amounts of vitamin C tablets are better absorbed. For example, 200 milligrams is better absorbed than 500 mg. Also, don’t waste your money on vitamin C supplements with a long release time. They don’t seem to be as well absorbed as other forms.

How do we choose the greatest supplement brand?

Since vitamin makers are not obligated to show that their products contain the exact amount of substances specified on the label, this is an excellent question. Look for products with the “NSF” or “USP” insignia on them. These have been potency and purity checked.

Vitamin C pills and kidney stones: what’s the connection?

Vitamin C supplements may not be a smart choice if you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones. And don’t take more than 500 mg of additional vitamin C every day.