The year 1990 was marked by turmoil and instability in the Soviet Union. But that did not deter three Soviet scientists from discovering for the ﬁrst time ever a surprising, and until then unknown link between two of the most popular vitamins.
Led by Igor Sergeev, the study revealed that Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, plays a critical role in Vitamin D metabolism.1 As you know by now, both are Foundation Supplements that help build and nourish your bones, each in their own different ways.
And thereʼs more to this discovery, since the researchers also conﬁrmed that…
Both Vitamins Work as a Team!
While Vitamin C deﬁciency “potentiated effects of Vitamin D deprivation and impaired a restorative action of Vitamin D”, much to the teamʼs surprise, “Vitamin D deﬁciency possibly affected Vitamin C metabolism.”1 Also, “a combined Vitamin C and D deﬁciency caused more pronounced reduction of bone mineralization… than did Vitamin D alone.”1
This study further conﬁrms the importance of looking at nutrition and supplementation as a whole rather than in isolation of each nutrient. When was the last time your doctor recommended you take Vitamin C for your bones? I know the answer: “never”. Chances are, your doctor only mentions calcium, after the osteoporosis prescription drugs, of course.
Worse, if you ever complained of minor – or not so minor – aches and pains, your doctor may have suggested you take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Whether over-the-counter, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, or prescription medicines such as Celebrex, it turns out that…
NSAIDs Greatly Reduce the Absorption of Vitamin C
Several studies have conclusively shown that NSAIDs have a negative impact on Vitamin C. One such study, which dates back to 1982, revealed that while one single 500 mg dose of Vitamin C effectively elevated serum ascorbic acid levels, when combined with 900 mg of aspirin, the increases were not observed.2 In other words, just one dose of aspirin completely blocked the Vitamin C.
Granted, 900 mg is a pretty hefty aspirin dose, but logic dictates that even at smaller doses, there would be some degree of Vitamin C blockage. And we need all the Vitamin C we can get both for our bone health and for our overall health, and to help maintain desirable Vitamin D levels.
Protect Your Bones and Your Health: Avoid NSAIDs
Knowing this, you have very good reasons to:
- Take adequate amounts of Vitamin C on a daily basis. Remember that 500 mg is the minimum, and you can build your way up to 2,000 mg per day. Thereʼs quite a lot of talk lately about Vitamin C mega-doses, and Iʼll write about this in the near future.
- Make sure you spend time outdoors, to get and maintain Vitamin D levels. Weather permitting, try to sunbathe at least 20 minutes a day without any sunscreen on. There are other important guidelines to reap the most beneﬁts from the sun, and Iʼll also write about that in the future. If you canʼt go out to the sun, then make sure you take at least 800 IU daily.
- Never take NSAIDs, since they obviously deprive you from hugely important nutrients, not only for your bones, but also for you general health.
Till next time,
1 Segeev I N, Arkhapchev Y P, Spirichev V B. “Ascorbic Acid Effects on Vitamin D Hormone Metabolism and Binding in Guinea Pigs.” The Journal of Nutrition. 120:1185-1190, 1990.
2 Basu TK. “Vitamin C-aspirin interactions”. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. Suppl 1982;23:83-90.