Emergen-C® is a vitamin C-based powder that you consume by mixing it into a glass of water.
It’s heavily advertised as being the ultimate cold prevention and cure and is often given to children.
Although naturally-occurring vitamin C can have great health benefits, the same cannot be said about the synthetic version of the vitamin.
What Is Emergen-C?
Other Ingredients Include:
Fructose, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Malic Acid. Contains <2% of: Acacia, Beta-Carotene (color), Dried Orange Juice Concentrate (color and flavor), Glycine, L-Aspartic Acid, Natural Flavors, Orange Oil, Silicon Dioxide, Tartaric Acid, Tocopherols (to preserve freshness).
Most commercial vitamin C (absorbic acid) is made from corn (1), which is one of the most genetically modified food in the world.
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Emergen-C manufacturers website states: “We have chosen to source materials that are non-GMO whenever possible. That being said, we cannot guarantee that all of our raw materials are sourced from non-GMO ingredients and do not currently have this requirement in place for our vendors.” (2).
They’re basically saying that it’s impossible to know which ingredients are GMO and how many GMO ingredients make it into the final product.
Vitamin C Vs. Isolated Ascorbic Acid
Although ascorbic acid and vitamin C are often advertised as being the same thing, man-made ingredients are never quite the same thing as their natural counterparts.
Naturally-occurring vitamins contain multiple chemical elements as well as the cofactors needed for the vitamin to be properly metabolized.
When it comes to most supplements, the active compound of the vitamin is often chemically created or isolated (3).
In the case of ascorbic acid, the acid itself is just a fraction, a component, of vitamin C. In addition to ascorbic acid, vitamin C must include rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, Tyrosinase, Ascorbinogen, and other components.
If any of these parts are missing, there is no vitamin C, no vitamin activity. When some of them are present, the body will draw on its own stores to make up the differences, so that the whole vitamin may be present. Only then will vitamin activity take place, provided that all other conditions and co-factors are present.
Ascorbic acid has been described as the “antioxidant wrapper” portion of vitamin C which protects the functional parts of the vitamin from rapid oxidation or breakdown. (source)
Health Dangers of Ascorbic Acid
Whole food vitamins occur in small doses and are not toxic since the vitamin is complete in its integral working form. It requires nothing from the body, and triggers no immune response (4). If natural vitamin C is consumed in too high a dose, the body simply expels it through urine.
However, synthetic vitamins have many toxic effects from mega-doses and can trigger an immune response. High levels of vitamins C supplements are know to cause (5):
- Abdominal bloating and cramps
- Kidney stones
And that’s just the beginning…
1. Affects Your Capacity To Exercise
Rather than keeping you in tip-top shape, vitamin C supplementation actually decreases training efficiency. This is because ascorbic acid impairs your muscle’s mitochondrial function and adaptability to exercise (4).
2. Increases CVD Risk
Daily intake of 300mg+ of vitamin C increases risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. When compared to food sources of the vitamin, only supplemental vitamin C showed a positive association with CVD mortality (5).
3. Causes Kidney Stones
In a Swedish study, high-dose vitamin C was linked to kidney stones in men (6).
The most common type of stone is a mixture of calcium and oxalate, a substance found in many foods.
Some people break down vitamin C into oxalate, which may explain the connection with kidney stone formation.
As little as 500 milligrams per day can be enough to cause a problem, although the study was conducted with 1000mg of the supplement (7).
4. Causes Organ Damage
“The vitamin C in supplements mobilizes harmless ferric iron stored in the body and converts it to harmful ferrous iron, which induces damage to the heart and other organs,” says American physician, Dr. Victor Herbert, professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
“Unlike the vitamin C naturally present in foods like orange juice, vitamin C as a supplement is not an antioxidant,” Dr. Herbert said.
“It’s a redox agent — an antioxidant in some circumstances and a pro-oxidant in others.” (source)
How To Make Your Own Natural Vitamin C Powder
Portable and practical, this powder works hard to heal the cold and flu.
- 5 organic oranges
- A coffee grinder
- A produce drying rack
- A clean cloth
- Peel the oranges and cut the peel into thin strips.
- Dry the peels on a drying rack covered by a clean cloth for a few days.
- Grind the strips into a fine powder.
- Store into an airtight container and keep in a dark, cool place.
- Take no more than a teaspoon a day.