What’s the big deal about Vitamin C?

When we think about immunity we often associate this with winter coughs and colds but the reality is that your immune system needs to be nurtured throughout the year.

With most things in life, you get out what you put in, and when it comes to your immune system what you include or your diet can impact your immune system - what you eat is important. After all, aside from Vitamin D (more about that later) almost every nutrient your body uses to help keep you healthy ultimately comes from food. Even the nutrients your body makes internally – the non-essential amino acids and fatty acids – use other nutrients from your food as their building blocks.

That means a healthy, balanced diet, filled with fresh, whole, nutritious food is an essential foundation for strong immunity. Certain vitamins – including Vitamin A, C, D and E directly play important roles in immune processes. So do minerals like Zinc, Iron and Selenium, and many other nutrients.

So regularly eating a wide range of foods that are rich in these nutrients is the first step to supporting your wellbeing all winter long.

So why is Vitamin C important I hear you ask? 

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient that humans can’t produce (unlike most animals) and therefore we must obtain it from our diet.

It is well known for its antioxidant properties; however, emerging research (for example this paper here) suggests that it has properties that help us beyond the common cold. It functions as an antioxidant in the body and helps mop up free radicals that are created as a normal part of cellular metabolism and immune function, protecting proteins, fatty acids, glucose and DNA material from oxidative damage. It also plays a role as a cofactor for enzymes in a number of chemical reactions in the body, for example helping in wound healing, immune function and fatty acid metabolism. 

Most people get their vitamin C from a range of fruits and vegetables, and it is likely that vegetable intake provides the greatest amount of vitamin C given the availability of vegetables year-round. Capsicums, kiwifruit and citrus fruit may provide the highest amount of vitamin C, though all produce contains it. It is easily destabilized under heat, so it’s important not to overcook vegetables so as to not destroy 25% of the vitamin C present.  

Although your immune defences do need several vitamins and minerals to do their job, there’s one nutrient we have to give special mention to: Vitamin C. 

Vitamin C helps to maintain your immunity in several ways[1],[2]. Your white blood cells use it to support their function, and so do many other immune mechanisms within your body.

But not all Vitamin C is made alike, and Ester-C® is a special form of Vitamin C. Unlike standard Vitamin C, which begins to break down quickly after it enters your body:

  • Ester-C® is faster* absorbed: it gets into your white blood cells fast (*compared to standard Vitamin C)
  • Ester-C® is long-lasting: it then stays in your white blood cells for up to 24 hours

In New Zealand, Ester-C® is available in the Nutra-Life Ester-C® range, which includes: 

  • Ester-C® + Vitamin D3: high-strength, one-a-day Vitamin C plus the immunity support of Vitamin D, with your choice of either Echinacea or antioxidant bioflavonoids
  • Ester-C® + Probiotics: one-a-day Vitamin C plus the benefits of probiotics 


Try adding one of the Nutra-Life Ester-C® products to the other common-sense strategies we’ve recommended to help keep your immune system happy this winter.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16118650

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15495002

Ester C® is a registered trademark of The Ester C Company. Vitamin supplements cannot replace a balanced diet. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Vitaco Health (NZ) Ltd