As the weather turns cold, and coughs and sneezes start echoing through offices and schools, more people turn to Emergen-C and other vitamin C supplements in an effort to keep their immune systems strong. It turns out that vitamin C is good for other things, too. Though not all the claims made about vitamins and weight loss are true, Emergen-C, when used appropriately, can help you reach your weight-loss goals.
There's a popular misconception that vitamin supplements have some magical power to cause weight loss. In fact, 66 percent of all weight-loss product advertisements in 2001 were for dietary supplements, according to the Federal Trade Commission. While vitamins can help ensure you get the nutrients you need, popping pills isn't going to help you if you're chowing down on hamburgers and french fries every day. In order to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit, which means you need to burn more calories than you consume, according to MayoClinic.com.
Emergen-C is a powder. It comes in packets that are intended to be emptied into water or juice. The powder is made of fructose, a naturally-occurring sugar, flavoring, and vitamin powder. According to the package labeling, one packet of Emergen-C provides 1,000 mg -- 1,667 percent of the daily value -- of vitamin C. One packet also provides 500 percent of the daily value of vitamin B6 and 417 percent of the daily value of vitamin B12, as well as portions of the daily value of other vitamins and minerals such as potassium and zinc.
The greatest benefit of Emergen-C for dieters is vitamin C's ability to keep fatigue at bay. Sleepiness has damaged many a diet: when you're tired, it's hard to resist the pull of the office doughnut tray or vending machine. Vitamin C can help. Individuals who get at least 400 mg of vitamin C -- well below the amount provided by one packet of Emergen-C -- report less fatigue than those who get less than 100 mg, according to Selene Yeager's "The Doctor's Book of Food Remedies." Bear in mind, though, that vitamin C can't do everything: you still need to get enough sleep.
Emergen-C can sometimes be expensive. If cost is a consideration for you, many supermarkets or pharmacies carry a chemically identical store brand. You can identify a store brand by comparing the ingredient list of the store brand with the name brand. If you can't find what you're looking for, ask the pharmacist. Not only will he know where products are located, he can answer any other questions you may have, as pharmacists also have extensive training in how drugs and vitamins work.
Not everyone should take vitamin supplements. Though Emergen-C does not contain vitamins A, D, E and or K -- megadoses of fat-soluble vitamins that can be toxic, according to Colorado State University -- Emergen-C can still be dangerous. Some vitamins can interact with prescription medications, especially digoxin, phenobarbital, warfarin and lithium, according to the AARP website. Always tell your doctor about any supplements you take, including Emergen-C.
- Federal Trade Commission: Weight Loss Advertizing: An Analysis of Current Trends
- MayoClinic.com: Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories
- "The Doctor's Book of Food Remedies"; Selene Yeager; 2006
- Colorado State University: Fat-Soluble Vitamins
- AARP: Most Patients Don't Tell Their Doctors They Take Supplements