Don’t get sick! - Vitamin C for Cold & Flu prevention??
Does it make a difference and if so, how much should you take and which products are best?
With the changing of seasons, usually comes a greater susceptibility for getting run down and catching an undesirable cold or virus. If your sleep is off, your nutrition not up to par, and/or you’re training with intensity, you may be an easier target for catching those undesirable cold & flu germs.
Does supplementing help? My opinion: I definitely think so and I have personally experienced amazing results from powering up on antioxidants and superfoods, especially during the more vulnerable times of year like fall and the hectic Christmas holidays. If you actually notice differences in your health as a result of taking vitamins and supplements, then that is the ultimate barometer and what matters and counts the most. I’ll happily invest in quality products and services to promote optimal health and quality of life! Being sick sucks and when you’re not well, your joy, passion, energy and attitude can take a serious nose dive!
Does Science back it up and what should you look for (or definitely avoid) when purchasing vitamins?
Vitamin C is a well known antioxidant that is touted as a natural cold remedy and an immune booster, but is there any merit to this?
We need to consume Vitamin C because our bodies don’t make it. It is required for immune function, iron absorption, healthy skin, blood vessels and bone structure. The best food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, kiwi, bell peppers, and greens like spinach, kale, etc. However. due to the lack of nutrient value foods can have due to depleted soils, GMOs, and people consuming too much processed foods, supplementing may be necessary to reach the higher vitamin C intake required to stay healthy.
Avoid Excessive Vitamin C Intake
If you decide to supplement, just make sure you don’t overdo it because too much of it can also have an adverse affect. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin which means it does not get stored within the body and any excess amounts that your body does not use, gets excreted in the urine; usually at doses above 400 mg. High doses of 2,000 mg or more can have adverse effects and cause nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and even contribute to kidney stones.
Can Vitamin C Prevent or Treat Cold Symptoms?
The common cold is the culprit for 23 million lost days of work each year," says Dr. Bistrian. Findings in proving that Vitamin C can prevent the common cold have been inconsistent.
The most convincing evidence to date comes from a 2013 review of 29 randomized trials with more than 11,000 participants. Researchers found that among extremely active people (such as marathon runners, skiers, and Army troops doing heavy exercise in subarctic conditions) taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C every day appeared to cut the risk of getting a cold in half. But for the general population, taking daily vitamin C did not reduce the risk of getting a cold.
More encouraging news: When consumed daily and before the onset of cold symptoms, taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C per day did appear to slightly reduce the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 8% in adults and 14% in children.
VITAMIN C SUPPLEMTATION
If you do decide to be proactive and supplement with Vitamin C in hopes of strengthening your immune system to build your strongest defence against germs, what are the best supplements to consider amidst the confusion and plethora of products available to us?
SIMPLE RULE #1 - READ THE INGREDIENTS!
A very simple philosophy that can help with determining whether a product is healthy and free from additives and fillers; if you can’t pronounce it or don’t understand what the ingredient is, it’s likely not good for you. - If you’re unsure, research/google it.
A general rule of thumb: Avoid trans fats. These are artificial fats that are made when hydrogen is added to a liquid vegetable oil to make it more solid. When you see “partially hydrogenated oils” on the label, that means it contains trans fats and it is something you should always strive to definitely avoid; no exceptions!
Negative health effects of trans fats:
Trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease, they increase your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and decrease “good” cholesterol (HDL), fostering the buildup of fatty deposits that can clog your blood vessels and lead to heart attack.
GMO’s are genetically modified food organisms which means they have been manipulated and altered by man, and therefore, are no longer considered to be natural and from nature, as food was intended to be.
True Definition of a GMO:
A genetically modified organism, or GMO, is an organism that has had its DNA altered or modified in some way through genetic engineering. In most cases, GMOs have been altered with DNA from another organism, be it a bacterium, plant, virus or animal; these organisms are sometimes referred to as "transgenic" organisms.
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), genetically engineered foods have had foreign genes (genes from other plants or animals) inserted into their genetic codes. The potential benefits are foods that are tastier, more nutritious and resistant to diseases and droughts.
There are two strong viewpoints when it comes to GMOs; those who believe they are harmful (consider cigarettes; the serious side effects that became known and proven decades later) and scientists and food corporate and industry leaders who support them.
"Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals," according to the Institute for Responsible Technology, a group of anti-GMO activists.
To learn more, I highly recommend you watch “Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs”
Let’s evaluate the product, Emergen-C, a common and well known product on the market:
You may be familiar with those convenient Emergen-C Vitamin C 1000 mg fizzy drink mix powder. If you actually do a nutritional analysis and breakdown of all the ingredients, you will learn how unhealthy this product is, and that you will likely be doing more harm than good with this “chemical cocktail.” The negatives outweigh the positives.
Let’s examine the NON-MEDICINAL INGREDIENT list:
Acacia gum, aspartic acid, beta carotene, citric acid, corn starch, corn oil, dl-a-Tocopherol, fructose, glycine, malic acid, maltodextrin, modified food starch, natural flavours, silica, sodium ascorbate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium phosphate, tapioca, tartaric acid, trisodium citrate, vegetable oil.
Let’s dissect a few of these ingredients further:
Corn Starch: First off, anything made with a corn product is by default, automatically a GMO unless it is labelled organic and/or GMO free. If you’re anti-GMO, you should avoid this, or at least research the topic and become more educated and then decide if it’s something you want to be consuming.
Corn Oil: The cheapest oil available for consumption and again, it is a GMO product unless it is labelled organic and/or GMO free.
Dl-a-Tocopherol: A synthetic form of Vitamin E. Beware that many tocopherols, the generic term for more than seven types of vitamin E, are extracted from genetically modified plants such as GM soy. Learn more in this article by Dr. Mercola: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/18/dangers-of-vitamins.aspx
Modified food starch: First off, anything with the term, ‘modified’ immediately makes me skeptical.
The lowdown: Chemicals (usually acids) are used to make modified food starches. As a result, the FDA requires them to be labeled as “modified” food starches. On the other hand, clean label starches are produced by physical means, such as purification and heat treatment. Since no chemicals are used, a clean label starch may simply be referred to as “starch.” Modified food starches and clean label starches both act as thickening agents, emulsifiers and stabilizers in many processed foods. Both are added to improve “mouth-feel” as well as maintain a desired texture and taste.
Maltodextrin: Maltodextrin is a white powder made from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat and even though it comes from plants, it is highly processed and has many similarities to corn syrup and is very high on the glycemic index, making it not an ideal choice for diabetics especially.
The list goes on… you get the picture.
Find out exactly what all the ingredients on the label are, what they mean, and whether they should really be there at all.
Knowledge is power!
The list continues, but in those few ingredients I’ve outlined and explained, it’s clear that this Emergen-C is a product you should steer clear from if you care about clean eating and healthy product consumption.
Here’s a product comparison that clearly speaks for itself.
No additives, and in many cases, less is more! After analyzing and comparing these two Vitamin C products, it’s easy to make the decision with respect to which supplement is the healthier choice and which you should consider purchasing. Whatever product you’re considering, become familiar with what is on the ingredient list, first and foremost, and then make an educated decision with respect to whether the product is the healthiest choice for you and/or your family.