As we all know, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements are not good for us, however, many people do not know why and I get a lot of questions about it. But, not many of us know that vitamin C also elevates red blood cell glutathione.
First a little background. For as long as I can remember ascorbic acid has been on the contraindicated list. It has two strikes against it. It enhances iron absorption. This is a problem for those with G6PD deficiency because we usually have too much of it and iron can be fatal if the level gets too high16. And ascorbic acid can become an oxidant and cause hemolysis if taken in too large of a dose35. When we get our vitamin C from our food, that won’t happen.
Our body also needs vitamin C. The same year the article about vitamin C causing hemolysis, another article was written stating that vitamin C raised glutathione33. They determined that vitamin C in doses up to 500 mg would raise the level of glutathione, but higher doses had little or no effect on glutathione levels.
The following foods are very high in vitamin C (listed from highest to lowest):
- Red and Green hot chili peppers
- Bell peppers
- Fresh Herbs (Thyme and Parsley)
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
- Kiwi Fruits
Eating these and other vitamin C rich foods every day will give you more than the 500 mg maximum dose. By getting our vitamin C from our food, we get enough without going overboard and having it cause either iron buildup or hemolysis. As an added bonus, eating these foods will help build up our immune system so we can fight off the infections that also cause hemolysis.