Baobab Powder: A natural source of Vitamin C

Vitamin C.  What was the first thing you thought of?  I bet it was oranges.  Oranges have had the greatest marketing as the number one source of vitamin C,  yet other fruits such as kiwi  and guava  have more vitamin C and Baobab fruit powder has nearly  4 times more Vitamin C than the iconic orange! 

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and a powerful water-soluble antioxidant made internally by almost all living organisms on the planet – except bats, guinea pigs, some primates and you and me.  We can’t produce Vitamin C which means it’s necessary to get it from our diets; nor can we store it in our bodies which is why we need to consume it on a daily basis.

“Baobab fruit powder has nearly 4 times more Vitamin C than an orange”

Why do we need Vitamin C?

One of the key benefits of Vitamin C is in its role as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy.  But we are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, radiation, pollution, herbicides and ultraviolet light from the sun.  Baobab fruit powder has one of the highest antioxidant ratings – even higher than goji berries, pomegranates and blueberries.

In addition, Vitamin C has the following benefits:

  • it optimises iron uptake. The presence of Vitamin C in conjunction with iron in baobab powder is particularly effective for increasing iron in your body.
  • it’s necessary in the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is used to:
    • form the  important protein collagen used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels
    • heal wounds and form scar tissue
    • repair and maintain cartilage, bones, and teeth
  • it contributes to the regeneration of vitamin E (also an antioxidant)
  • it helps boost the immune system
  • the antioxidant effects of Vitamin C are especially useful for preventing heart disease by reducing oxidative damage to the artery walls and reducing oxidized cholesterol in the body

Vitamin C RDA

“Baobab fruit powder has one of the highest antioxidant ratings”

What happens when we don’t get enough Vitamin C?

Advice varies regarding how much we need a day however the American Institute of Health states that children need between 40 – 65 mg per day, adult men need 90mg a day and adult women 75mg.   Nutritional Therapist Eleanor Knoesen  agrees and adds that the upper limit is 2,000 mg per day as typically we cannot absorb more than that.   In fact too much vitamin C in supplemental form may be harmful and could cause any of the following symptoms: diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal bloating and cramps, headache, insomnia and kidney stones.

Scurvy is the most well-known of vitamin C deficiency diseases. Interestingly, the chemical name for vitamin C –  ascorbic acid –  is derived from the Latin name for scurvy, scorbutus.  

Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:

  • Anaemia
  • Bleeding gums
  • Decreased ability to fight infection
  • Decreased wound-healing rate
  • Dry and splitting hair
  • Easy bruising
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
  • Rough, dry, scaly skin
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Weakened tooth enamel

Which conditions benefit from Vitamin C?

Nutritional Therapist and consultant  Katherine Tudsbury says that adequate levels of Vitamin C may benefit those with allergies and asthma because of its ability to reduce the body’s production of the -inflammatory compound called histamine.  People with type 2 diabetes are known to have lowered levels of vitamin C so supplementation could improve fasting blood sugar.

An increasingly common issue seen in practice is adrenal fatigue says Katherine.  The symptoms include fatigue, poor immunity, low stress tolerance, body aches and low blood pressure. The adrenal glands and the brain hold the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body and during times of stress the adrenal glands use vitamin C up at a rapid rate and urinary excretion of Vitamin C increases. In this case vitamin C supplementation is necessary for healing and an improved stress response.

In the case of specific health conditions (like asthma, cataracts, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, adrenal fatigue, and cancer) which require a higher concentration of Vitamin C supplementation, baobab powder could be an excellent addition to one’s daily supplement. An optimal daily intake for these issues is between 1000-3000mg of Vitamin C a day.

It is worth bearing in mind that synthetic ascorbic acid supplements which do not have the proper co-factors (like bioflavonoids) won’t be properly absorbed and may even rob your own body of these substances.  Clinical Nutritionist Elenia Kolokoronis who researches the effects of GMO’s and chemically processed foods says that the advantages of absorbing vitamin C through natural food by far outweighs that of synthetic vitamin supplementation.  Apart from the sensory enjoyment of food, one also receives the benefits of added fibre and the synergy of other nutrients being absorbed together in a way synthetic supplements cannot possibly offer.  A baobab fruit on a tree is just that – a natural grown fruit.  Synthetic  supplements, vitamin C in particular,  most of the time do not contain natural, real vitamin C but are rather made up entirely of ascorbic acid or a variation of it. 

“the advantages of absorbing vitamin C through natural food such as Baobab Fruit powder by far outweighs that of synthetic vitamin supplementation”

Why EcoProducts Baobab Powder?

Vitamin C deteriorates in moist conditions while being stored, or by heat during food preparation.  Amazingly, the baobab fruit is one of the few fruits to dry out completely while still on the tree. The pods are only harvested when they fall to the ground (EcoProducts Baobab pods are never taken directly off the tree) and they only fall when they are completely dried out. This means that the powder requires minimal handling and processing.  All we do is separate the powder from the seeds (which we press to get Baobab oil) and then sieve it to give it the wonderfully fine, silky textured powder which mixes easily into foods and drinks that EcoProducts has become known for.

Because the powder is stored in a dried state and then packed into food grade plastic tubs, there is no ambient moisture which would reduce the natural source of Vitamin C content.  Baobab powder has a shelf life of 2 years.  To retain its vitamin C content during food preparation, the powder should not be cooked but rather added in at the end of the cooking process.

Baobab powder has been safely consumed for thousands of years and Baobab fruit pulp received its GRAS certification (Generally Recognised As Safe) from the FDA in 2008.

“EcoProducts baobab powder is a natural source of Vitamin C”

How to enjoy Baobab Powder

Mix a teaspoon or two into your breakfast cereal or porridge or add a tablespoon to your favourite fruit smoothie or green drink.  Click here for our recipes.

Because it’s a natural food, there’s no cut and dried formula for how much Baobab powder to consume a day.  That would be a bit like saying how many grapes one should eat a day!  However, to enjoy the full benefits of baobab powder and for optimum results, as a general rule we recommend taking around 1 tablespoon a day.  Two tablespoon of Baobab powder (12g) will give you approximately 24mg of Vitamin C.

Baobab RDA

“Two tablespoons of Baobab powder (12g) will give you approximately 24mg of Vitamin C”

 

 

 

On-line References:

References:  

Balch, P.  2004. Prescription for Nutritional Healing,  5th ed. Penguin Group.
Murray, M. 1994. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplementents. Three rivers Press.

 

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