Yes, Vitamin C is key for immunity, but did you know the benefits aren’t just internal? According to Dr. Steven Gundry — the renowned heart surgeon who made waves with his groundbreaking book The Plant Paradox — loading up on this essential nutrient is a game-changer for getting gorgeous skin.
Gundry’s new book is all about longevity. A youthful complexion can indicate that all systems are in tip-top shape, and we’re fascinated by the link between vitamin C and collagen. While collagen has become the it-girl of beauty supplements, this info has us shuffling a few things in our supplement cabinets…
The Link Between Vitamin C + CollagenIn 1966, the Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling discovered our inability to make vitamin C after observing that the human body uses vitamin C to repair cracks in collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and is used to build connective tissue, skin and blood vessels — think of it as like the rebar in concrete. When collagen breaks and isn’t repaired well because of insufficient levels of vitamin C, we get wrinkles. The sun’s rays harm your skin by breaking down collagen. Vitamin C can knit it back together again — but only if you have enough of it.
Dr. Gundry insists that using non-toxic sunscreen is key, but that it’s even better to eat your sunscreen by consuming plenty of vitamin C. “There is very good evidence that if we have plenty of vitamin C in our bodies, it will prevent solar damage to the skin. I take a time-released vitamin C supplement of 1,000 milligrams twice a day and have for years, and I rarely see the effects of the southern California sun on my skin.”
The Science Behind Vitamin CDr. Gundry shares, “Humans are actually the only animals besides New World monkeys and guinea pigs that don’t make their own vitamin C and need to rely on foods (or supplements) to get enough of it. Yet we have all the necessary enzymes except the final one to produce vitamin C. So what gives?”
“Evolutionary biologists believe that when we evolved, we had so much vitamin C in our diets that the process of manufacturing it was edited out of our genes. Though eliminating our ability to produce vitamin C saved us from wasting energy and using that extra energy to store fat then, now it gets us into trouble when we don’t consume enough of it. The same is true of UV damage.”The Vitamin C Beauty Boost ”Vitamin C supplements are a beauty food.” Gundry reminds our collagen-obsessed counterparts. “The problem? They are water soluble, so you excrete vitamin C rapidly in your urine. There is also an upper limit to the amount of vitamin C you can absorb, and if you swallow more, not only will you not absorb it, you’re also likely to get diarrhea as your body excretes whatever it can’t absorb. Animal studies suggest that you need plenty of vitamin C to maintain vital, healthy skin and blood vessels.”
Dr. Gundry recommends: “For better looking skin, and less damage to blood vessels and potentially a longer healthier lifespan, I recommend taking either a timed released vitamin C of about 1,000 mg twice a day, or chewing a 500 mg vitamin C four times a day, which is quite easy for most people to accomplish.”
The Vitamin C + Olive Oil ConnectionDr. Gundry is a huge fan of olive oil — see his diet here. “It appears that compounds in olive oil and olive leaf extract may partially turn on the ghost gene and promote the human production of vitamin C. If so, this may explain another reason that the Mediterranean diet, which includes large amounts of olive oil, promotes health.”
“In fact a recent very small human study suggests that combining olive leaf extract, olive oil and vitamin C may enable humans to manufacture their own vitamin C. And don’t forget the benefit of topical vitamin C and olive oil on the skin itself.” Dr. Gundry reminds us: “Oral vitamin C because of what I’ve mentioned earlier, rarely reaches the skin in sufficient amounts, but topical vitamin C preparations of the proper pH have been shown to penetrate and help collagen repair and production in the skin. And always remember Sophia Loren’s beauty secret was olive oil on her skin!”
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.