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The almighty and powerful Vitamin C

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

From the common cold cure to its role in metabolic syndrome, the exciting new discoveries of vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

The history of medicinal vitamin C goes back to the early 1900's with citrus being used to treat scurvy, the common cold and pneumonia.

In my clinical prescribing I have found vitamin C extremely effective in cases of adrenal overuse and depletion. Put alongside its flavonoid buddies rutin and hesperidin and collagen forming co-factor zinc vitamin C is really given the best opportunity to shine. Before we dive too far into its many amazing roles one more little helpful hint:

Helpful hint:

Did you know that we can't absorb more than 500mg of vitamin C at a time... this doesn't mean that we cant have more than 500mg a day but rather you need to separate the doses (by at least 2 hours.

Alrighty back to the ins and outs of this wonder nutrient. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that the human body does not independently synthesise. The evidence points towards vitamin C's role in the common cold being that of shortening duration and severity. This is hypothesised to be due to levels declining in times of illness. Vitamin C is found at a significantly higher amount within white blood cells (up to ten times more) than plasma cells and influences T helper cells which suggests its important role in immunity and defence. Vitamin C is an electron donor to several oxidative pathways showing its extreme antioxidant abilities. Vitamin C is a co-factor in collagen synthesis and thus essential in wound healing.

In metabolic syndrome over nutrition causes an increase in suboptimal bacteria in the gut that has been associated with depleting vitamin C levels. Deficiency of vitamin C leads to increased inflammation and oxidative stress on the body an thus a role of vitamin C supplementation in metabolic syndrome is suggested.

Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron, pairing leafy green meals with a source of vitamin C (citrus) can enhance the absorbed iron for a vegetarian.

The adrenal gland is the organ with the highest concentration of vitamin C. Production of adrenal catecholamine's requires vitamin C as a co-factor and thus in management of high cortisol conditions its implication is implied. Ascorbic acid shows a protective role for the liver cytochrome enzyme P450 and thus liver homeostasis, toxic management and hormonal clearance is effected by levels of vitamin C.


Hemilä H. Vitamin C and infections. Nutrients. 2017;9(4). doi:10.3390/nu9040339

Patak, P., Willenberg, H. S., & Bornstein, S. R. (2004). Vitamin C is an important cofactor for both adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla. Endocrine Research, 30(4), 871–875. Retrieved from

Traber MG, Buettner GR, Bruno RS. The Relationship Between Vitamin C Status, the GUT-Liver Axis, and Metabolic Syndrome. Redox Biol. 2018;21(December 2018):101091. doi:10.1016/j.redox.2018.101091

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