Vitamin C: The Stress-Reducing Nutrient
Did you know that humans cannot make their own Vitamin C? We need to get it from the food or supplements that we consume. But that is not true for all beings. For example, mountain goats are able to develop their own Vitamin C. And when mountain goats get stressed out, their own internal Vitamin C production increases exponentially. That is because Vitamin C and stress have a lot to do with each other, and not just in the mountain goat world…more on that later. Since we are not mountain goats, we need to obtain Vitamin C from external sources. Some of the best natural sources of Vitamin C include black currant, bell peppers, guava, broccoli, cantaloupe, pineapple, kale, papaya, kiwi, and gooseberries. Oranges do have some Vitamin C, but not as much as everyone thinks! Vitamin C is unstable and, thus, it is destroyed by cooking, so be sure not to char your Vitamin C-rich foods if you are heating them.
Now, for the lesser known benefit of Vitamin C. Aside from being a potent antioxidant, Vitamin C is also beneficial for adrenal health. Similar to how Vitamin C is directly related to stress in mountain goats, humans’ stress levels are also greatly intertwined with the C vitamin. Within the human body, the adrenal glands have a high concentration of Vitamin C. In fact, the adrenal gland is one of the organs that contains the highest amount of Vitamin C within the human body. Increasing cortisol levels can suppress Vitamin C absorption from the adrenal cells. This is significant because it means that being stressed out (a factor that can lead to increased cortisol levels) can reduce your levels of Vitamin C. Therefore, if you are experiencing a high stress time in in your life, it would not be a bad idea to increase your Vitamin C intake.
On the flip side, Vitamin C is championed as a stress-reducing nutrient. Not only has it been found to minimize the effects of stress on individuals, but it also reduces the amount of time that it takes for someone to recover from a stressful experience. In various animal studies, Vitamin C has proven to significantly decrease the secretion of cortisol – the fight or flight hormone that I mentioned earlier. Vitamin C is also a co-factor in creating norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline) – hormones that directly impact the sympathetic nervous system. If Vitamin C is being absorbed by your body properly, your nervous system will be able to regulate the impact of stress more efficiently.
Though many people seem to believe that you need to consume a large quantity of Vitamin C to reap the benefits of it (did anyone else’s mom make them drink multiple glasses of orange juice if she heard any sniffles?), for optimal adrenal health, it turns out you do not need an immense amount of the vitamin. It is tightly controlled by your system and only about 200mg can be absorbed into your body at a time. So, if your practitioner has you on high doses, you may need to spread it out. Aside from immune system boosting and stress prevention/relief, Vitamin C also helps with numerous other bodily functions such as cardiovascular disease, wound healing, collagen production and more.
It truly is an incredible nutrient and if you do not regularly consume high Vitamin C foods throughout the day, I recommend including a supplement into your regimen. Lyphospheric Vitamin C can break cells’ lipid barriers and increase absorption by up to 90% – I love Pure Synergy’s Pure Radiance Vitamin C Capsules. Another one of my all-time favorite supplements is Pure Encapsulations’ Ester-C. Be sure to spread consumption out over the course of the day to allow for optimal absorption. And the next time you feel a wave of stress coming on, try reaching for the Vitamin C as a way to support your body and mind. As always, check with a doctor before trying a new supplement