Talking about the myth of ascorbic acid is probably one of my favorite topics, mainly because of how popular vitamin C supplementation is.
Have you checked what’s in your supplements lately? If they have ascorbic acid, it usually means they’re usually the cheapest ingredients to boost profit margins. Not only it is useless, it’s also probably expensive and depleting you of vital nutrients like copper. Copper is essential for vascular health, ATP production and hundreds of other functions in the body. This is why it’s so important to take a whole foods vitamin C that contains the entire complex.
What is ascorbic acid?
Ascorbic acid is a synthetic or fractionated form of "Vitamin C" and can be found in nearly every brand of Vitamin C at your local store, and most online vitamin shops. Typically, it is derived from GMO cornstarch, corn oil, corn sugar or rice starch to be cost-effective.
Most of the ascorbic acid in the country comes from one manufacturing plant in New Jersey, where other businesses then obtain it from and bottle under their own brand name.
Ascorbic acid itself is the protective layer of a whole Vitamin C complex which serves to preserve all the nutrients of the C complex. Ascorbic Acid doesn't contain all of the other essential parts of the vitamin that we need for the body to utilize Vitamin C.
Why it doesn’t work:
A common myth is that your body will eliminate Vitamin C because there is only so much that can be absorbed. But that's only true of ascorbic acid. Because ascorbic acid is missing the key elements that make it absorbable by the body, when taken as a supplement, the body then has to go and search for these missing components that are not there. When it can't find these components, the body will either source it from your tissues and deplete you of necessary nutrients, or it discards the ascorbic acid, making supplementation at best useless, and at worst dangerous.
The dangers of ascorbic acid:
Nutrient deficiencies. As the ascorbic acid searches for these missing components in order to be bioavailable, it can deplete copper stores. Depleted copper can result in fatigue, weakness, memory loss, cold sensitivity, and brittle bones. In addition, the deregulation of copper leads to iron toxicity. Vitamin C also helps to produce antioxidants like glutathione, but it requires copper to produce. When we take ascorbic acid, we prevent the creation of these vital antioxidants.
High doses of ascorbic acid can cause damage to the arteries. Copper is essential in maintaining blood vessel health and ascorbic acid depletes copper.
Potential glyphosate exposure. Nearly all ascorbic acid is produced from GMO corn sugar, which is heavily treated with herbicides and pesticides, such as the cancer-causing glyphosate.
Studies have shown that high doses of ascorbic acid can decrease endurance in athletes, and can also lead to the formation of cancer-causing genotoxins.
Most of our vitamin C is stored in the adrenal glands and is used during the production of Cortisol, a stress hormone. When we are stressed, the adrenals use a higher amount of Vitamin C, and so those stores must be properly replenished.
In our modern world, where stress is high and constant, we burn through a LOT of Vitamin C. If supplementing with ascorbic acid, Vitamin C stores can be further depleted, which causes more cortisol to be released, eventually leading to adrenal dysfunction, as the adrenal glands are fatigued from constantly pumping out stress hormones without the necessary vitamins.
So what is the real vitamin C?
Reference the graphic below to see the real structure of the vitamin C complex.
The best way to get vitamin C is through C complex rich foods such as:
Other Whole Foods sources that can be supplemented:
✅ Acerola Cherry
✅ Camu Camu
✅ Kakadu Plums
Vitamin C is so important to immune function and the development and repair of tissues. It’s also beneficial for:
✅ High blood pressure
✅ Absorption and regulation of iron
✅ Collagen production
✅ Protecting cells from free radicals
Be sure to evaluate all of your supplements to make sure you’re getting the highest quality supplements (sorry, Emergen-C doesn't count). Some of my favorites include:
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