Did you know that the adrenal glands have the highest concentration of vitamin C than any other organ in the body?
The pituitary gland involved in the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-axis) also harbors high amounts of vitamin C, and all the tissues in our body need it too.
When we are under stress the adrenals use up copious amounts of vitamin C in response to the stress hormone adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Under stress our body also uses more energy and this creates reactive oxygen species (free radicals), you might have heard of these before. These are a natural thing that occurs but when we have too many of them it can lead to more health issues.
The great thing about vitamin C is it can donate an electron to a free radical to make it normal again. We also call these antioxidants and vitamin C is one of the best kind.
Vitamin C In The Body
Vitamin C is needed in the body for many things including:
- As a cofactor for norepinephrine synthesis
- Improving glucocorticoid function to help normalise the rhythm of the adrenal glands
- Neurotransmitter synthesis
- Biosynthesis of catecholamines
- Synthesis of some peptide hormones
- Collagen synthesis
- As a powerful antioxidant
- Thyroxine synthesis
- Amino acid metabolism
- Iron absorption
- Resistance to infection
- Boosting immunity
- Preventing inflammation and DNA mutations
Yep, it’s needed for some pretty important stuff, some of them directly related to the adrenals.
Unfortunately we cannot synthesise vitamin C in our bodies so we have to get it from the food we eat or supplements.
How Much Vitamin C For Adrenal Fatigue?
Quite high levels of vitamin C are needed to support adrenal function and can have the added benefit of helping to decrease high cortisol levels and normalise ACTH.
You can safely self prescribe up to 2000mg a day but it’s best to start with 500mg and increase the dosage over a few weeks to a month. You may find that you feel better with just 1000mg or 1500mg, so try to monitor how you feel as you slowly increase your dosage.
Take smaller doses
It’s also better to take smaller doses more regularly for cell saturation. If you can, take the vitamin C throughout the day in smaller doses of around 300mg, rather than taking a whole 1000mg dose all at once. Or if you are taking a 2000mg dose, split it in 4 doses if possible.
Another trick I often recommend is to put the vitamin C in your drinking water. You can just add your dosage to a 1.5 litre water bottle so you get the benefits of it throughout the entire day. It makes it easier to take as well because remembering to take 4 doses can be a real hassle.
Choose the right vitamin C
I find the powdered supplements are better and a bioflavonoid vitamin C aids absorption and is far better than just ascorbic acid on it’s own.
Hope you found this helpful 🙂
Nutritionist & Health Coach
Head KA, Kelly GS. Nutrients and Botanicals for the Treatment of Stress: Adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety and restless sleep. Alternative Medicine Review. 2009:14(2);114-140.
Padayatty, SB, Doppman JL, Chang R, Wang Y, Gill J, Papanicolaou DA, Levine M. Human adrenal glands secrete vitamin C in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:145–9
Brown AC Waslien CI. University of Hawaii. Stress & Nutrition.
Grosso G, Bei B, MistrettaA, MarventanoS, CalabreseG, MasuelliL.Effects of Vitamin C on health: a review of evidence. Frontiers in Bioscience. 2013:18; 1017-1029.