How safe is your Vitamin C supplement?
Add this dose of common sense to your daily supplement regime...
There is an increasing trend to advocate mega doses (far higher than would be found in food sources) of vitamins such as Vitamin C, A, and E to treat and prevent everything from the common cold to aging. We’re told these mega doses are beneficial. But are they really?
It is time to rethink the practice in which vitamins with anti-oxidant functions, such as Vitamins A, C, E and selenium, are taken in mega doses to optimise health and to treat certain conditions. Not only does it appear that anti-oxidant supplements (in mega dosis) are unlikely to have any positive role, but in fact there may even be the possibility of harm.
‘Harm’ that may be associated with mega doses of nutrients may relate to a number of possible situations. For example, nutrients do not function in isolation and mega dosages of one could result in decreased levels of another. Secondly, the possibility exists that mega dosages of vitamins with anti-oxidant properties may in actual fact have a pro-oxidant effect – yes - the effect may no longer be protective against cellular damage but may in fact cause it…
Cellular damage is one factor associated with development of certain cancers.
It is a fallacy that nutrients are likely to have either neutral or beneficial properties – and that the body will discard – what it does not require (with no ill effect). High dosages of e.g. Vitamin C which some people recommend may not be harmless and it is prudent at this point to choose vitamin supplements with caution.
My advice is that people should increase foods that contain vitamin C in winter to help ward off colds and flu’s and should one have difficulty consuming these foods, a supplement providing not more than around 300 mg a day should suffice in most cases.
Taking one’s vitamin C supplement with, for example, a freshly squeezed orange, may also be beneficial as oranges contain other nutrient ingredients that have the ability to help ‘protect’ the vitamin C - which is a very sensitive nutrient - thereby enhancing efficacy.
Please download the attached list which indicates the average Vitamin C levels of specific foods, to help optimise Vitamin C intake from fruit and vegetables.
*In April of 2008 a report was released by the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration, an international not-for-profit organisation that provides up-to-date information about the effects of health care. It is recognised internationally as a gold standard to review research and to improve global healthcare decision-making through systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions.