When it comes to supplements it feels like there are many we should be taking at the moment; vitamin D for immunity , ashwagandha for stress and magnesium for sleep to name but three, but neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart, an expert in vitamin blends, highlights the importance of having vitamin C in our cabinet right now.
Top of her must-take list is liposomal vitamin C. Never heard of it? Liposomal, she explains, is the most bioavailable form of the supplement meaning that is delivered to your cells readily which means your body can use it more easily. Liposomal means that the vitamin C is housed inside very tiny fat-like particles, making it easier to absorb and target where needed. These formulas are gel textured and can be taken straight, with a drink of water or added to smoothies if you like.
What do vitamin C supplements do?
Asa Tara explains it helps encourage production of white blood cells, our body’s first line of defence in protection against infection. It also provides a source of antioxidant to help protect our cells against free radical damage. Antioxidants are also key to protecting brain function and memory. Skin-wise, vitamin C contributes to collagen production and last but not least, vitamin C helps us the body absorb other minerals, particularly iron , protein and collagen.
RDA of vitamin C
The recommended daily intake from the government is 75mg for women and 90mg for men, but Dr Tara is quick to point out this is a maintenance dose, to be followed when we're fit, healthy and absorbing vitamin C from our food (kiwis, strawberries and kale are good sources). She believes we should take different doses according to different needs.
A 'maintenance dose' of 75mg is fine for when we’re fit and healthy, she says. But we need a higher dose of 1000mg as a 'stress dose' when we're overloaded. When we’re stressed or unwell our bodies use up vitamins, minerals and micronutrients at a faster rate to keep our cell processes going.
If you’re ill or stressed you need to super-boost your vitamin C dosage (Tara says taking up to 10,000mg of vitamin C in illness is advisable). This is where liposomal vitamin C supplements come into their own because they absorb more easily into the body and can easily be amped up to 10,000mg by taking more.
What to look for in vitamin C supplement
Look for liposomal and high dose vitamin C (1000mg per dose) when choosing supplements and to keep in mind that while the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is only 75mg; if you're unwell or stressed, consider amping it up to a 1000mg dose.
Dr Tara recommends Micro Liposomal Vitamin C by Allergy Research Group , £29.81, which gives a dose of 1000mg per teaspoon.
She also rates Biomedica Pure Liposome Vitamin C , £22.92 (one dose is 500mg) or Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C , £44.50, which she called the gold standard thanks to how easy it is to absorb into the body. It's 1000mg per dose too.
It was so much in demand at the start of lockdown in March, that it sold out.
The bottom line: Look out for liposomal vitamin C for its greater bioavailability and switch to high-dose vitamin C up to a 1000mg if you're unwell or stressed.