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Our most recent answers

Buffered Vitamin C

Our Expert's Answer

Jamie Christie explains...

Vitamin C is ascorbic acid which is commonly found in fruit and vegetables especially citrus fruits. It is an essential vitamin for humans and cannot be manufactured in the body so it has to be provided through our diets and the food we each.

Ascorbic acid as the name suggests is acidic and when dissolved in water has a PH of 5. Ascorbic acid is available naturally in its pure form and also combined with minerals such as calcium ascorbate.

Calcium ascorbate has a PH of 7.4 when dissolved in water which means it is very slightly alkali. Calcium ascorbate is simple to produce, calcium carbonate is mixed with ascorbic acid in solution under controlled conditions, the solution is then dried leaving pure calcium ascorbate crystals.

Many companies have started to use calcium ascorbate if their food supplements due to its lower acid content which users often find to be easier to digest and gentle in the stomach.

Care needs to be taken to ensure fully reacted calcium ascorbate is requested as a short cut is it to simply blend dry calcium carbonate with ascorbic acid, however this does not give the required buffering effect.

There are branded and generic forms of buffered Vitamin C the most popular being Ester C, which is backed by extensive clinical research.

Jamie Christie

Nutritional Biochemist, Industry consultant on supplements

I don’t know what to think anymore. Can people get everything they need in their diet?

Our Expert's Answer

Angela Dowden explains...

I understand your confusion –  everyone's a nutrition expert these days it seems! I think the straightest answer is that while it's possible for many people to get the full recommendation of all vitamins and minerals from their diet, not everyone does, and almost certainly not every day. The government's National Diet and Nutrition Survey gives a good clue as to the nutrients and groups that are of most concern - these include vitamin D for every age group, magnesium  (low in 25 percent of women aged 19-64) and iron, also low across age groups but particularly in women and girls. Worryingly  in women of childbearing age, 89 percent also have  a red blood cell  folate concentration low enough to put them at increased risk of giving birth to a baby with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. Vegans, or those with more plant-focused diets will also not be getting vitamin B12 from their diet. Experts have varying opinions on how to correct micronutrient deficiencies, but a good multivitamin (check it has at least 10 micrograms of vitamin D) is one of the most practical and simple ways to ensure the gaps get filled. But it really is essential that this strategy is combined with a balanced diet rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables, and that also includes some dairy, or else a calcium and vitamin B12-fortified plant alternative.

Angela Dowden

Freelance health journalist / registered nutritionist

I can't be bothered to cook anymore. Help!

Our Expert's Answer

Ben Brown explains...

If you're lacking motivation to cook and prepare foods, setting goals can be very helpful. A great goal that simplifies things is to eat more variety in your diet, it will get you eating more healthy food, widening your nutrient intake, and push poor food choices out of your diet without you realising it. Try aiming for four different fruits and vegetables daily, and four different types of fresh or dried herbs and spices each day. Write them down and make it a personal daily challenge.  If you want to really get some culinary inspiration, then why not go global?  Choose a different country for each day of the week, and learn about some new cooking traditions and methods, not to mention new flavours and textures. Food variety is so important because research shows that those who have lower variety and lack the motivation to cook consume lower levels of important minerals, vitamins, and antioxidant nutrients. All the best!

Ask your own question

Got a question about health food or supplements? We’d love to hear from you. We’re sorry that we can’t answer every question, but we’ll pick one that you should all find interesting…

Yvonne Bishop-Weston

Yvonne Bishop-Weston

Clinical Nutritional Therapist, Yvonne Bishop-Weston, has held a variety of key roles in the health industry and profession. As well as practicing as a Nutritional Therapist Yvonne provides corporate health consultancy has co-authored a range of cookbooks. Yvonne can also be seen regularly in the National press and on TV.

Miguel Toribio-Mateas

Miguel Toribio-Mateas

Miguel Toribio-Mateas is a nutrition practitioner and clinical neuroscientist who is a real influence on the science of nutrition and application of this to the therapy setting. Miguel is a leading light in consumer education and practitioner training and writes for many publications; the Times, BBC World, the Daily Mail and Women’s Health.

Suzie Sawyer

Suzie Sawyer

Suzie Sawyer is a clinical nutritionist, well known for her passion for nutritional science. Able to communicate effectively on many levels, Suzie brings the wonders of healthy eating and supplementation to life. Suzie is widely quoted and has worked effectively in all forms of the media for many years.

Patrick Holford

Patrick Holford

Patrick Holford is a leading spokesperson on nutrition and founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. He is the author of 44 books, translated into over 30 languages. He founded the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London and the charitable Food for the Brain Foundation.

Rob Hobson

Rob Hobson

Rob Hobson is a registered nutritionist whose work spans across public health, the NHS, charity organisations and many of the UK’s leading health and wellness brands.  Rob is regularly featured in the UK media, having written hundreds of articles for publications including the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Women’s Health, as well as being a regular voice on both radio and TV. 

Jayney Goddard

Jayney Goddard

Jayney Goddard is a pioneer of complementary therapies and is a global authority in this area, bringing her extensive understanding of scientific research to both professional arenas and the public. Jayney is a truly inspirational advocate of all things natural, as seen in her extensive media work, publications, seminars and webinars.

Dr Marilyn Glenville

Dr Marilyn Glenville

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health. She is the former President of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine, is a registered nutritionist, psychologist, author and popular broadcaster. She is author of 16 internationally bestselling books.

Angela Dowden

Angela Dowden

Angela Dowden is an award-winning freelance health writer and registered nutritionist. She has written for many consumer publications, including the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Woman’s Own and Mail on Sunday, as well as having authored a number of books relating to diet and the sensible use of supplements.

Jamie Christie

Jamie Christie

Jamie Christie is a nutritional biochemist with over 20 years’ experience of running a major UK supplement brand and pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, making food supplements for many of the UK leading brands and retailers. He is the founder of Nutrasolve, UK, and a nutritionist with the British Nutrition Foundation.

Ben Brown

Ben Brown

Ben Brown is a science writer and speaker specialising in nutrition and functional medicine. Ben is Contributing Editor of Integrative Healthcare and Applied Nutrition and Director of Clinical Education for Pure Encapsulations UK. He guest lectures at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and is the author of The Digestive Health Solution 2nd Ed.

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