Ahh, probably one of our most asked questions. We totally get it, though! You’ll often hear of collagen and shortly after vitamin C. Or your friend will tell you that you absolutely have to take vitamin C with your collagen otherwise it doesn’t work. Or the collagen won’t absorb.
BUT IS THIS TRUE? DO YOU REALLY NEED TO TAKE VITAMIN C WITH COLLAGEN?
Short answer: usually not.
LONG ANSWER… WELL, HERE WE GO.
Vitamin C is an important vitamin that we cannot make in our bodies. Therefore, we must get vitamin C through our diet (this is important – remember this for later!). This vitamin has many essential roles in our bodies including helping with various reaction that ensure normal function. It contributes to gene expression – this is very complex, so don’t worry that consuming lots of vitamin C will alter your DNA, it won’t – and is a strong antioxidant. Various studies have also show that higher levels of vitamin C consumption are associated with lower risk of various diseases and ailments.
BUT HOW ARE VITAMIN C AND COLLAGEN INTERCONNECTED?
We know that collagen is abundant in our skin. It helps to maintain the structure and integrity of our skin. And do you know what else is found in the skin? Yep, you guessed it. Vitamin C! Vitamin C actually regulates the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein which means that it is made up of amino acids. Proteins, including collagen, are also folded up. If the proteins do not have the correct amino acids or are not folded properly, they do not function as they should. Vitamin C helps to ensure that the correct amino acids are being linked together and that the protein is being folded correctly to make collagen.
In addition, vitamin C also plays other roles in maintaining the health of our skin. It is an antioxidant which means that it fights free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that accumulate in our bodies (or our skin!) that cause damage. Vitamin C is able to neutralise these molecules and stop them from causing damage. Vitamin C also plays a role in wound healing. Since the body stimulates the production of collagen to heal wounds and vitamin C plays a role in the stimulation and synthesis of collagen, a deficiency of vitamin C is associated poor wound healing. An example of this that may ring a bell: scurvy.
Now you may be thinking, everything we’ve mentioned so far really makes it sound like you need to be taking vitamin C with collagen.
BUT HERE’S THE THING…
How often do we hear of people that have scurvy nowadays? Pretty much never.
And why would that be? Well, we naturally get plenty of vitamin C through our diets without requiring us to take any vitamin C supplements. Therefore, it is not necessary to be taking additional vitamin C with your collagen!
According to Health Canada, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C per day is about 90 mg for adult males and 75 mg for adult females. This means that we have to be consuming said amount of vitamin C every day for normal bodily function.
Fun fact: Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that even if you are consuming much more of the vitamin per day, it is likely that most of the excess will be excreted in urine! Your body is smart and knows how much vitamin C it needs!
WE ARE CONSUMING ENOUGH VITAMIN C THROUGH OUR DIETS.
Findings show that the average Canadian adult consumes between 100 mg – 233 mg of vitamin C per day, adequately satisfying the recommendations! Furthermore, less than 3% of Canadian population is deficient in vitamin C. This means that most people are consuming enough of the vitamin!
(Psst! We are aware that the data of vitamin C consumption collected by Health Canada and Stats Can is a little outdated, but unfortunately there have been no newer releases of this info! It is likely that newer findings would be quite similar to statistics mentioned above.)
HERE ARE SOME FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN C!
If you aren’t sure that you are consuming enough vitamin C per day, here are a few examples of foods you may be eating that are high in vitamiZn C:
- Citrus fruits (eating an orange whole or having a glass of orange juice both count!)
- Kale and other leafy greens
TO ANSWER THE QUESTION…
No, most people do not need to take vitamin C with their collagen. Although vitamin C is important in many aspects of collagen production, most of us get plenty of vitamin C through our diets without needing to take additional supplements. If you are still a bit worried about your vitamin C consumption, try adding a scoop of collagen to orange juice or make a collagen fruit smoothie!
Have any more burning questions about collagen? Comment them down below so that we can answer them in future blog posts!
- Canada, H. (2005, July 20). Dietary Reference Intakes [Datasets]. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/dietary-reference-intakes/tables/reference-values-vitamins-dietary-reference-intakes-tables-2005.html
- DePhillipo, N. N., Aman, Z. S., Kennedy, M. I., Begley, J. P., Moatshe, G., & LaPrade, R. F. (2018). Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 6(10), 2325967118804544.
- Government of Canada, S. C. (2016, May 18). Vitamin C status of Canadian adults: Findings from the 2012/2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2016005/article/14612-eng.htm
- Vitamin C. (2014, April 22). Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C