Vitamin C: What, Why and How


Stan Starsky: Hey, this is Stan Starsky from Peace, Love & Snacks, author of the healthy snacks cookbook, Peace, Love & Snacks. I’m excited to talk about vitamin C today. I’ve got Deepa Deshmukh. She is a registered dietitian, a diabetes disorder. She also focuses on functional nutrition. You want to check up her website at Welcome, Deepa.


Deepa Deshmukh: Thank you, Stan.


Stan: We’re going to jump right into it. We’re going to talk about vitamin C. Let’s get in! What is vitamin C?


Deepa: Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and is very crucial to overall health. It is usually found in Citrus and many other fruits and vegetables. Again, it’s a water-soluble vitamin, which you need to take every day.


Stan: Why is it important? What does it actually do in your body?


Deepa: Vitamin C is the backbone of your immune system. It plays a huge role when your body is fighting any condition. It plays a very important role in the adoption of iron. If you’re not getting enough vitamin C, it affects your iron absorption. As many of you might know, all these vitamins, they work along with each other. One deficiency can lead to deficiencies of other vitamins and minerals.


Stan: I didn’t know that it helped iron absorption. That’s interesting.


Deepa: In fact, women, during pregnancy, they are asked to take extra iron or those women who have iron deficiencies and are taking of extra iron usually complain also of GI issues such as constipation. If they start taking probably 500-1000mg of vitamin C along with their iron, their absorption improves and they don’t have to have the side effects of taking extra iron such as constipation.


Stan: Very good! And you mentioned that it also helps your immune system, as well and it helps fight off infection, is that correct?


Deepa: That’s right! Vitamin C as I’ve said has shown to play a very important role in curing any kind of bacterial infection or viral infection – things like pneumonia, common cold and arthritis. It plays in the formation of collagen in your joints along with Calcium. Vitamin C deficiency is usually associated with early signs of arthritis. It helps diabetic patients battle infections due to high blood sugar levels. It plays a role in chronic fatigue syndrome.


It has a very prominent role in a variety of diseases. When I talk about its role in fighting infection, it also plays a big role in detoxing. If you have any heavy metal poisoning or if there’s inflammation going on because of any kind of chronic condition – and the chronic condition literally range from overweight/obesity to chronic fatigue syndrome, MS and the list goes on and on and on – any inflammatory condition, any autoimmune condition, one must look into vitamin C as a secondary therapy.


Stan: Wow! You referenced heavy metal poisoning. I hope you don’t mind me asking a little bit more about that because I’ve heard a lot of people that do have a lot of the heavy metals when they eat fish and things, too. Vitamin C can help you remove some of those metals, is that…?


Deepa: Yes, it does help you remove it or eliminate it. If you think about it, it makes your immune system stronger. A stronger immune system obviously is going to help you battle anything that is invading your body.


Stan: Interesting! Very good, very good. What are good sources of vitamin C?


Deepa: The most common source is citrus fruits and so on and so forth, but because the soil is not rich in nutrients as it used to be, I personally think that the quality of vitamin C in our citrus is not as good. I don’t know if there is even enough of it in it.


So, in addition to eating the right kind of fruits, it may not be a bad idea for you to take an extra vitamin C supplement.


Stan: Interesting! Yes, I never really thought about that. I thought if you just drink some orange juice, you’d be in good shape, but you’re saying that…?


Deepa: And on top of that, the way our food is processed is when we take something natural, then we process it, so we remove nutrients and then, we add some. The more we process foods, the more it’s going to remove natural vitamins and minerals which are present in that.


One of the things would be, instead of drinking a glass or orange juice, which is very, very processed, you might as well eat a whole orange because to meet your minimum recommended daily allowance, you need to eat only one orange worth of vitamin C. But again, if you’re dealing with any chronic condition, if you’re dealing with any inflammation, if you’re dealing with any autoimmune disease, then obviously, you’ll need for these nutrients to go up. To compensate for that, you have to take extra supplement.


Stan: Interesting! Interesting! I’m wondering then, too (this kind of leads to the next question), can you get too much of it?


Deepa: There are no proven studies which say you can get too much of vitamin C. Usually, too much vitamin C if you’re getting it via supplement, you will have some bowel distress. Basically, when we recommend vitamin C to somebody, we tell them, “You start with 500mg…” and then, depending on what condition you are dealing with, we up their dose and then, tell them that if you are experiencing any gas, bloating or diarrhea, then you cut down the dose.


There is really no too much of it and the dose is your bowel tolerance dependent.


Stan: If you’re getting too much of it, you’ll know for certain?


Deepa: Exactly!


Stan: Okay! Any myths about vitamin C or any misconception out there about it?


Deepa: Not really, but people do think that just drinking one glass of orange juice is enough or just meeting your daily requirement for vitamin C is enough. But as I’ve said, because we live in a society where the food is very processed and we live in a very stressful environment (i.e. environmentally stress, mental stress, work-related, family-related), your need for the nutrient do go up. One must make an attempt to take extra vitamin C every day.


Stan: Interesting! Hey, if you can leave us with maybe one or two final teams or just any parting words with them, what might that be? Anything you want to summarize with?


Deepa: Sure. Good sources of vitamin C are things like papaya and bell peppers and strawberries, broccoli, again, orange and citrus and things like that. In addition to that, you might want to take 500mg of vitamin C every day.


Stan: Very good! Well, thank you, Deepa. I really do appreciate that.


Deepa: No problem. My pleasure. Glad to be here.


Stan: Absolutely! We’re just about out of time. Once again, I’m Stan Starsky from Peace, Love & Snacks, author of the healthy snack cookbook, Peace, Love & Snacks. I’m wrapping up a great interview with Deepa Deshmukh. You’re going to want to take a look at her website. That is at


Once again, thanks, everybody. I will speak to you next time. That about wraps it up.


Snack time!

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