26/09/2016 10:34 BST | Updated 02/09/2017 06:12 BST

Stop! Step Away From That Vitamin C Pill!

The secret to a lot of what I do as a strength coach and nutritionist is supplying my clients with cutting edge training methods and the best nutrition advice currently available. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of those secrets with you in this blog.

My starting point is going to be vitamin C. Specifically natural vitamin C, which most of you may not have heard of. Many people are shocked to know that the vitamin C they take as a supplement - or in juices or fruit products - is not true vitamin C. It's actually synthetic ascorbic acid. To be clear, ascorbic acid is not vitamin C - it's a toxic substance derived from corn starch and sulphuric acid.

Natural vitamin C is made up of the following:

• Rutin

• Bioflavonoids

• Factor K

• Factor J

• Factor P

• Ascorbinogen

• Tyrosinase

• Ascorbic acid

• Ascorbinogen bioflavonoids

All of these factors must be present for vitamin C to provide benefits to your body. If they are not present and you are essentially just taking ascorbic acid, then the body scavenges these factors from around the body which robs you of vital nutrients. So let's look at some of the best natural sources of vitamin C.

1. Camu Camu is a wild bush native to the South American tropical rainforest that produces a fruit which has about 30 times more vitamin C than oranges. About half a teaspoon of powdered camu camu provides more than 400% the RDV of vitamin C.

It supports your immune system, skin repair, wards off infections, supports strong collagen, tendons and ligaments and decreases inflammation. It also contains an array of nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, the amino acids leucine, serine and valine, as well as small amounts of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

In short this amazing little berry punches above its weight when it comes to nutritional content.

2. Amla is also commonly referred to as "Indian gooseberry." Juice from the amla has about 20 times as much vitamin C as oranges. This green round fruit can be found on a tree that grows in tropical India. It not only boasts a high content of vitamin C but is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, fibre, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium.

Amla is extremely important in Ayurverdic medicine.

3. Acerola cherry, uncommon to many people, is a tiny fruit that has about 65 times as much vitamin C as an orange.

Acerola has the unique benefit of helping to manage diabetes by slowing the release of sugar in the bloodstream.

This regulation of insulin and glucose is crucial when it comes to preventing spikes and drops - essential for diabetics. Acerola is also instrumental in slowing the ageing process, increasing circulation, reducing allergic reactions, improving overall heart health and strengthening the immune system.

4. Baobab, the fruit powder contains about six times more vitamin C compared to oranges gram for gram. It also contains twice as much calcium as milk and more iron than red meat. It is highly regarded as a nutrient dense superfood due to it containing B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and antioxidants. It also contains more soluble fibre than fruits such as apples and apricots. Its health benefits are far reaching, including regulating blood sugars and lowering inflammation.

Dosages of each of the above vary but I recommend taking half a teaspoon in water once a day with a little more in cold and flu season. Cycle the superfoods so that you are taking xamu on a Monday, amla on a Tuesday, and so on.

There is a lot of smoke and mirrors when it comes to nutrition, but take it from someone who has provided nutrition plans and training schedules to athletes competing at the highest level - most pills and potions are at best useless, and at worst dangerous. Over the coming weeks and months, I'll reveal everything you need to rebalance your body and optimise your health.

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