It's that time of year again -- kids are back in school, and they're bringing home more than homework. If your little one has shared the latest "bug" going around her classroom with the whole family, it's time to reach for the vitamin C. Even if you don't have kids, these illnesses inevitably make their way into offices and other public spaces. Bolster your body's defenses naturally and support overall wellness with vitamin C.
As soon as you notice the signs that you're coming down with a cold -- sniffling, sneezing, stuffiness, or a sore throat -- it's important to act fast. Viruses survive by infiltrating the body's cells and reprogramming them to make more viruses. You can halt this process by intervening in the first 24 hours.
Patrick Holford, nutrition expert and author of Good Medicine and dozens of other books on natural health, recommends taking 2,000 mg of vitamin C immediately when you notice cold symptoms and then 1,000 mg every hour until the cold has gone (usually within 24 hours and often within 12 hours). "The point is to keep drip-feeding enough vitamin C into your bloodstream to keep the level consistently high," says Holford. "Vitamin C passes out of the body in four to six hours."
Regular supplementation with vitamin C offers many side benefits (the favorable opposite of side effects). In addition to supporting healthy immunity, vitamin C helps prevent atherosclerosis, aids in the removal of cholesterol deposits from the artery walls, and supports healthy blood pressure, protecting against cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Studies show that vitamin C reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, is essential for healthy bones and joints, and is even protective against certain types of cancer. It's helpful for relieving symptoms of allergies (especially hay fever), and vitamin C is associated with brain health as well. Higher vitamin C levels are linked to significant improvements in memory, recognition, and vocabulary in elderly individuals. Research shows that people with Alzheimer's disease have lower blood levels of vitamin C.
Browse the aisles of your natural market and you'll find many forms of vitamin C -- capsules, chewable tablets, powders, and more. No one form is better absorbed or more effective than another, so supplementation is easy. Everyone in the family can choose the vitamin C that's best for them. Chewable varieties are usually a big hit with children.
Whatever form you choose, the important thing is that you're taking vitamin C every day. A month into the school year when everyone around you is sniffling and sneezing, you and your family will be feeling great, even in the midst of kid germs.
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