Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that many plants and animals can manufacture from their own glucose stores. Unfortunately for us humans, we’re not one of the mammals that comes with our own built in vitamin C factories. That means we need to ensure we’re getting enough from our diet.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects bodily tissues from oxidative damage. It is also involved in several important enzymatic reactions, including the creation of collagen in connective tissue. This means it’s important for the health of skin, hair, teeth, gums, bones and wound healing throughout the body. In addition, vitamin C is essential to a healthy immune system and supports various immune cells’ functions. In one of the first control group studies ever conducted, James Lind, a British Royal Navy ship surgeon, showed that citrus fruits prevented scurvy in sailors at sea. This eventually led, several hundred years later, to the discovery and isolation of ascorbic acid, whose name is in honour of its antiscorbutic (anti-scurvy) properties.
When it comes to immune health, vitamin C was the subject of a Cochrane Review for preventing and treating the common cold. The authors’ conclusions (covering 29 clinical trials involving over 11,000 people) were that it does not significantly reduce the chance of catching a cold in the general population but that amounts greater than or equal to 200 mg daily were of benefit to people exposed to cold environments and physical exercise as well as having a small but consistent effect on the duration and severity of the common cold when taken preventatively.
A number of clinical trials have also found vitamin C supplementation to be a cost effective way to reduce the chance of contracting respiratory infections. A review of these trials found an 80% or greater reduction in the chance of contracting pneumonia for example in the vitamin C groups compared to the placebo groups.
Acerola cherry is one of the richest food sources of natural vitamin C. Acerola cherry also contains various polyphenols like anthocyanins, chlorogenic and caffeic acid, quercetin and carotenoids. There has been some speculation whether these aid absorption of vitamin C when compared with synthetic ascorbic acid alone. Some studies (like in kiwi fruits) have found no absorption differences between natural and synthetic sources of vitamin C.
One study from Japan using acerola fruit vitamin C vs. synthetic vitamin C, however, found that absorption and urinary excretion was more favourable for the acerola based vitamin C. Something in the acerola cherries seemed to aid absorption and delay excretion of the vitamin C lending support to the idea that vitamin C in a food matrix with other polyphenols is a superior way to get your daily needs.
Flora’s Acerola Powder is a certified organic, whole food source of vitamin C packing a whopping guaranteed minimum of 850 mg of vitamin C per 3 gram scoop. We source our acerola cherries from Brazil and the juice is vacuum dehydrated without use of heat or freeze-drying to help best retain its natural composition. Simply add it to water and drink each morning or try it in one of our amazing immune support recipes.
Support your immune health this fall with a natural, whole food source of vitamin C. Use code ‘vitaminc15’ at checkout on our Flora website this week to receive 15% off your purchase of Flora’s Acerola Powder.
Robert Dadd is a Master Herbalist (Dominion Herbal College) with a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University. His areas of research include adaptogens, probiotics, and essential fatty acids. He is currently the Product Information Supervisor for Flora Manufacturing and Distributing.