Blog Post General Vegan Vitamin C Whole Food vs Synthetic Supplements

What does Anemia have to do with Vitamin C?

What does Anemia have to do with Vitamin C?
Published: 20 November 2022
Mariëtte Marais
Modified at: 10/09/2023
Table of Contents

According to figures released by the WHO 29,9% of women and 39,8% of children were suffering from anemia in 2019. In Africa 60,2% of children are affected by anemia. Anemia is associated with poor cognitive and motor development. In pregnant women it’s associated with preterm delivery, low-birthweight infants and decreased iron stores for the baby, which may lead to impaired development.

The role of copper and vitamin C

Copper is essential for absorbing iron from the gut. So if copper levels are low, the body may absorb less iron. This can cause iron deficiency anemia, a condition in which the body is unable to carry enough oxygen to its tissues.

Ascorbic Acid, the synthetic form of vitamin C, can exacerbate iron deficiency anemia because it depletes the body of copper which is essential for iron absorption.

How does it work?

In nature (whole food) vitamin C always comes in a complex, meaning it consists of a number of components. They are:

Ascorbinogen
Bioflavinoids
Rutin
Copper in enzyme form. This enzyme is called tyrosinase
Factors J, K and P
Mineral cofactors
Ascorbic Acid

Shop Now

The above mentioned components in vitamin C have an affinity for each other, in other words they attract each other. Ascorbic acid, if taken on its own will therefore, attract all the other components of the vitamin C complex from the tissues of the body. If ascorbic acid is taken in large amounts it will deplete the body of all the other elements in the vitamin C complex including copper – copper being essential for iron absorption. This is where it all comes together.

The Bottom Line

Ascorbic acid is NOT the active ingredient in vitamin C. Its only role is to protect the other elements in the vitamin C complex from oxidation. Individuals with low iron levels are better off getting their vitamin C from whole food or a whole food vitamin supplement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's Go Shopping!