When you take supplemental vitamin C, you may be missing the beneficial bioflavonoids that come with most fresh citrus fruit. Here, understand how the two create enhanced benefits, and where to get your bioflavonoids.
The Benefits of Vitamin C
For humans, consuming vitamin C is essential because we cannot make our own, like other mammals do.
While most folks get enough vitamin C through food and supplementation to avoid scurvy, which historically plagued sailors and the impoverished, low-key vitamin C deficiencies are still quite common.
The Top 5 Benefits of Vitamin C
- Healthy Immune Response: Way back in 1972, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 1,000 subjects taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day provided support for use of vitamin C supplementation for common immune challenges. The supplementation group missed significantly fewer days from work/activities and had fewer days per episode of immune challenge; in addition, significantly more subjects taking vitamin C remained symptom-free throughout the study. Since then, studies have found that vitamin C provides immune stimulation when immune cells absorb and concentrate vitamin C. Supplemental vitamin C may enhance immune cell activity, particularly T-cell function and phagocytosis (or cellular detox).
- Brain Health: Your brain maintains relatively high vitamin C levels, which facilitates the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine, as well as neural communication, as a way to manage mood and brain function.
- Healthy Collagen: One of the first tissues to feel the impact of daily emotional and physical stressors is collagen—yes, the protein that provides elasticity to your skin and joints. Collagen is a fundamental component of bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, skin, gums, and joints. Ultimately, the health of these tissues depends on vitamin C.
- Energy Production: Energy generation from fatty acids is vitamin C-dependent as well. Vitamin Cis required for synthesis of carnitine, an energy molecule that deliverers long-chain fatty acids (like fish oils and olive oil) into the mitochondria for energy production.Vitamin C has also been found to provide adrenal support and is a cofactor for several metabolic enzymes.
- Iron Absorption: There are two basic forms of iron–plant-sourced and animal-sourced. Vitamin C helps the body absorb non-heme iron, or iron from plants. This is especially important for vegetarians who do not ingest the more readily absorbed heme iron from animal sources. In a study of 65 kids with mild anemia who were supplemented with 30 mg of vitamin C and 7.5 mg or iron, researchers concluded that the combination of vitamin C and iron supplementation supported healthy iron levels.
See also Iron Deficiency Anemia? Restore Your Ferritin Reserves
How Bioflavonoids Enhance the Benefits of Vitamin C
In nature, vitamin C (or ascorbic acid), especially in citrus fruits, is almost always found with a variety of bioflavonoids.
Bioflavonoids are commonly used in Europe to support healthy lymphatic function and maintain healthy arteries and optimal blood vessel circulation. In the US, anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids are used to support tissue and joint comfort, respiratory health and eye health, and maintenance of cardiovascular health.
In addition, studies have found that citrus bioflavonoids can cross the blood-brain barrier and, in combination with the brain’s unique ability to store vitamin C, support cognitive function and nerve protection in the brain.
As cell-signaling agents, bioflavonoids are believed to support healthy cell growth and normal cell-life regulation. They also stimulate detoxification enzymes, decrease vascular cell adhesion molecules, increase vasodilation, and support healthy platelet function, according to research. .Bioflavonoids have also been shown to elicit a positive change in our microbiomes.
While both vitamin C and bioflavonoids offer numerous health benefits on their own, the benefits are enhanced when you take them together—as nature intended. For example, in one study on vitamin C and quercetin—a common bioflavonoid—taking the two together had enhanced antiviral properties.
See also How Vitamin C Protects Vitamin E
The Best Sources of Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids
In summer, the abundance of fruits and vegetables makes getting enough vitamin C easy, but in winter, fresh vitamin C-rich foods are scarce.
According to Ayurveda, immune-boosting vitamin C and bioflavonoid-rich citrus fruits, along with certain berries (like amalaki), should be eaten year-round, and especially in winter, when their calming properties can help balance vata.
Citrus C is formulated to provide a one-a-day three-month supply of antioxidant protection, enhanced immune function, and supported synthesis and function of collagen, carnitine, and neurotransmitters. Each capsule provides 500mg high-potency vitamin C and 500mg citrus-bioflavonoid full-spectrum complex in a one-to-one ratio.