Vitamin C can help trigger fat burn, but 60 percent of women over 50 aren’t getting enough of it to do so. The fix: A new form of the vitamin called liposomal C doubles absorption to simultaneously burn fat and build muscle — without exercise!
When you sit down to lunch today, what will you have? If you’re anything like us, it’s probably not the same thing you ate in your 20s — or the same amount. Many women over 40 have traded sandwiches for soup over the years just to avoid a pileup of excess pounds. And yet we still gain. What gives?
When we’re younger, we have plenty of lean muscle—and having a higher percentage of lean muscle can triple your metabolism because muscle burns more calories than fat.
But women lose about 1 percent of their muscle tissue each year— a loss that accelerates after age 40. So by age 60, most women have lost 20 percent of total muscle mass. The result: a sluggish metabolism and increased fat storage.
New research reveals that vitamin C can reverse this age-related metabolism slowdown. A U.K. study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that women who consumed the most C had the highest levels of lean muscle mass; those who got less of the vitamin had the lowest. ″Vitamin C is used for making carnitine,″ explains study co-author Ailsa Welch, Ph.D., a professor of nutritional epidemiology at Norwich Medical School. ″It is a crucial substance that provides energy for muscles and collagen, a structural component of muscle.″
It’s difficult to get enough vitamin C from traditional supplements. Because vitamin C is water-soluble, it can’t penetrate fatty tissue naturally. It also has a poor rate of absorption. Indeed, studies suggest that only 15 percent of vitamin C from a traditional capsule is absorbed. So if you’re taking the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 75 mg., you may only be absorbing 11 mg. — that’s 94 percent less vitamin C than the subjects with the most metabolism-revving muscle in the U.K. study got.
The good news:
A breakthrough form of vitamin C called liposomal C dramatically improves absorbability. Liposomes are like little fat bubbles that surround vitamin C as it travels through the body, allowing it to pass by the gut without being broken down so it can get where it’s needed most — in cells. ″Liposomes are made up of phospholipids, the same substances that make up cell membranes, so the vitamin is absorbed in cells much faster,″ explains Pauline Jose, M.D., a clinical instructor at UCLA. The payoff: The absorption rate of liquid liposomal vitamin C is 135 percent that of traditional vitamin C.
Increase vitamin C absorption, and metabolism soars. The proof: In a University of Colorado at Boulder study, adults over 60 who were given daily vitamin C burned 100 more calories per day without making any other changes, while in an Arizona State University study, having optimal levels of vitamin C was shown to boost levels of the fat-burning compound carnitine by 30 percent. ″We knew that people with high concentrations of vitamin C in their blood have less body fat and weigh less. This explains why,″ asserts Carol Johnston, Ph.D., who worked on the study. ″Women who take enough C are oxidizing more fat, so over time you should see their body fat decrease significantly.″ The results speak for themselves, says 51-year-old Traci Downey, who lost 109 lbs. supplementing with C daily. ″I was shocked. I thought my scale was wrong,″ she recalls. ″I feel like I’ve found me again!″
Weight loss is just the beginning. Most importantly in these days of increased risk for flu, pneumonia and COVID-19, vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system. It supports the body’s defenses against viruses and bacteria. It also promotes vascular health, which protects the integrity of the gut, where 80 percent of the immune system is housed. Adds Dr. Jose, ″Vitamin C helps lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, regulate moods and prevent chronic illnesses. It’s also important for strong bones, wound healing and healthy gums.″
Ready to start your journey to slim and healthy? Read on!
So easy, so effective!
Getting enough vitamin C preserves and promotes metabolism-boosting lean muscle — and the liposomal form of the vitamin is more than twice as effective as standard supplements. The payoff: More of the vitamin makes it to muscle cells, where it helps promote steady metabolism and increased fat burning.
While the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin C is 75 mg. for women, stress, illness, diabetes and exposure to toxins can cause deficiencies and further reduce absorption of the vitamin, so many women need more than 75 mg. to get the benefits. Fortunately, the body gets just as much — if not more — of the essential vitamin with one spoonful of liposomal liquid or a liposomal capsule. ″Nutrients delivered in liposomal form have equal or greater efficacy than higher doses in nonliposomal tablets,″ asserts Pauline Jose, M.D. And while traditional vitamin C supplements often cause loose stool and stomach cramps at high doses, liposomal C hasn’t been linked to these GI symptoms.
To get optimal benefits, supplement with 1,000 mg. of liposomal vitamin C per day. If you opt for a liquid formulation, you can take it straight or stir it into juice or a smoothie — just don’t add it to hot beverages, which will degrade the supplement. If you prefer a capsule, make sure to look for a brand that has phosphatidylcholine or lecithin listed in the ingredients — this is an indicator that the vitamin has been enveloped in a bubble that protects the vitamin as it travels through the GI tract and into cells. If vitamin C is the only ingredient listed on the label, then it isn’t a true liposomal product. One that gets high reviews from users: Wholesome Wellness Liposomal Vitamin C (Buy at Wholesome-Wellness.com, $18).
Once you start taking liposomal vitamin C, you’ll see results fast. Indeed, women in an Arizona State University study experienced increased fat burning in eight weeks. And women FIRST spoke to lost up to 43 pounds in one month while taking liposomal vitamin C. In addition to supplementing daily, the strategies here maximize vitamin C absorption and enhance its fat-burning effects:
• Start on empty. Taking liposomal vitamin C on an empty stomach increases absorption. However, some women FIRST spoke with report that liposomal vitamin C made them feel nauseated and bloated at first. The reason? ″Liposomal vitamin C may be too potent and acidic for sensitive stomachs,″ explains health expert Anthony William, known as the Medical Medium. If the supplement makes you queasy, pair it with a snack, like a handful of almonds. If symptoms persist, he advises starting with a lower dose and slowly increasing your intake over the course of a week.
• Eat C-rich foods this way. Including foods high in vitamin C in your diet will speed metabolism. For best results, enjoy them raw, steamed or lightly sauteed — research from UC Davis found that up to 55 percent of the nutrient is lost during high-heat cooking.
• Don’t go hungry. Boosting C intake will speed slimming on any diet, but to lose faster, aim to eat three meals and two snacks each day. The reason: When you don’t get plenty of calories throughout the day, the body flips into starvation mode, which decreases muscle mass, undoing vitamin C’s weight-loss benefits.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.