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Vitamin C - Antioxidant Powerhouse

Dr Linus Pauling won not one but two Nobel Prizes – the first one was the Nobel Price for Chemistry, and then a subsequent Nobel Peace Prize. But he is particularly well known for his work with Vitamin C which he maintained could add an extra 12 to 18 years to our lives. That is a wonderful thought because it is a very hefty increase in an individual’s life span, although the supplemental quantities he recommended for this purpose are somewhat overwhelming. He also stated that nearly all disease can be traced to nutritional deficiencies.

Nevertheless, Vitamin C is undoubtedly associated with a longer and healthier life, possibly reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes as well as the length and severity of colds and other infections, all roles which are fairly widely known – I certainly reach for the Vitamin C at the first sign of a sniffle. A less publicised one, however, is that it becomes increasingly important as we grow older, particularly because of its role in brain health – in fact, the levels of Vitamin C in the brain are almost fifteen times higher than in the rest of the body – and it is often described as the most potent antioxidant in existence. A further function is as an ingredient in the creation of several neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, dopamine and noradrenaline, all of which influence cognitive strength.

What else can Vitamin C do for us? It boosts immunity, eases inflammation, improves the health of arteries, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, builds collagen (crucial for skin and joints), relieves insomnia, regulates blood sugar and supports adrenal health and therefore stress management. It also regenerates Vitamin E, thereby enabling it to get to work again and protect the fatty tissue of the brain. And if you are looking for a further bonus, Vitamin C helps to burn off fat around the midriff! An impressive CV indeed.

What are the best dietary sources of this powerful vitamin and antioxidant? Luckily it is easy to include in our daily meals:-

· Peppers - red and orange/yellow rather than green

· Chillies

· Citrus fruit – lemons and limes, oranges and tangerines, grapefruit

· All berries – but particularly strawberries

· Blackcurrants

· Cherries

· Papaya

· Kiwi

· Broccoli

· Brussels sprouts

· Cauliflower

· Cabbage

· Tomatoes

· Even potatoes, which are not generally nutritional stars, contain Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is water soluble and easily damaged by heat so it is best to consume it from raw food as much as possible – although raw brassicas like broccoli and Brussels sprouts are not at their most delicious if they are not cooked!

And just a reminder to join my free Facebook group, Let’s Age Dynamically. It is a private, safe environment for all of us, men and women, well into MidLife&Beyond where we can talk about any health challenges which are facing us as we grow older and learn to age dynamically and by design, rather than passively and by default. This is the link: and I look forward to seeing you there.

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