You knew that Vitamin C prevents scurvy. And when you have a cold you reach for the C supplements. But did you know that Vitamin C can give your fat-burner a boost?
The University of Arizona did a study in 2006 which showed that the amount of Vitamin C in the blood has a direct correlation to the body’s ability to use fat as fuel, both during exercise and at rest.
The reason vitamin C is helpful lies in the effect it has on a little protein-like molecule known as carnitine. Carnitine is the “bus” that shuttles fat molecules to the site of fat oxidation in tissue cells. Vitamin C helps run the bus. Getting plenty of vitamin C in your diet keeps the bus system running smoothly and the fat arriving at the depot where it is unloaded and burned as fuel.
But hold up! Don’t run out to your grocery store and pick up a bottle of vitamin C. Chances are it won’t be helpful. Most vitamin C supplements are synthetic. Look at the label. If it says “ascorbic acid” you are probably getting a fake. Ascorbic acid is one component of C, but not the whole thing, and is usually produced from fake stuff in a test tube. It can actually do you more harm than good. Besides failing to do the functions of whole vitamin C, it can force your body to use calcium to synthesize it — calcium that you need for your bones and teeth. It also can make your body more acidic, a breeding ground for illness.
You are much better off getting vitamin C from food. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables will help. However, it is a sad fact that our foods are decreasing every year in their vitamin and mineral content. Vitamin C, in particular is destroyed by exposure to light, oxygen, and heat. When foods are highly processed, or even stored for long periods, it decreases the amount of C they contain. About 15% of American adults are deficient in C, up from only 3-5 percent 25 years ago.
The FDA guidelines now say that you need, not five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, but nine to fifteen! Most people in the US only get two — and that is when french fries and ketchup are counted as vegetables.
In order to get enough vitamin C, you need to seriously step up your fruits and vegetables. The only other option is to buy a high-quality, food-based vitamin. I say food-based, because it is sad, but true, that the majority of vitamins, especially the cheaper ones, are synthetic. They are produced in a laboratory from coal tar and petroleum byproducts. (I personally find it ironic that we are now running our cars on vegetable fuel and trying to run our bodies on petroleum!) Even those you find at the health food store or touted online are often not the highest quality. In order to cut costs, they usually are not standardized. One study found a 400% difference in the amount of actual vitamin E from one pill to the next — in the same bottle!
What can you do? Research the company. I use vitamins that are not cheap — but I think good health is worth the investment! The company I buy from feeds the nutrients to a type of mustard plant hydroponically, and then harvests the vitamins from the leaves. That way all the nutrients are there and in a natural form our bodies know how to use.
It’s also a good idea to take multi-vitamins, not just singles. In food, vitamins come in groups and work together. Taking just C or just E can mess up the balance. Unless you suspect you have a shortage of a specific nutrient, it’s best to take them together.
Our bodies are so amazingly created! All the millions of chemical actions and reactions, all the influences of hormones — all the things going steadily going on without our conscious awareness — are astounding! The more I learn about how our bodies function, the more I can heartily say with king David, “I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth quite well!” (Ps. 139:14)
Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown