Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is essential for the healthy functioning of the body. Naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, Vitamin C aids in many biological functions in the growth and maintenance of the body. It helps in the absorption of iron, the formation of collagen, the healing of wounds, and the repair and maintenance of cartilage, blood vessels, bones, and teeth. It also helps in the synthesis of L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitters.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, meaning that it can prevent and help fight the damage caused by free radicals that damage cells and molecules. It helps in the metabolism of proteins and its antioxidant property may reduce the risk of several types of cancers.
Vitamin C deficiency can cause Scurvy to develop. Its symptoms include swollen joints, bleeding gums, loose teeth and anemia.
Sources of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is found naturally in vegetables and fruits, especially oranges and other citrus fruits. Others The foods richest in vitamin C are citrus fruits, green peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Other good sources include dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, papaya, mango, watermelon, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, winter squash, and pineapples. Vitamin C is also available as a natural dietary supplement in the form of over the counter pills.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, and the body does not store it. To maintain adequate levels of vitamin C, humans need a daily intake of food that contains it
Vitamin C Dosage
In general, vitamin C is safe to take when ingested through food sources such as fruits and vegetables. For most people, taking vitamin C supplements in the recommended amounts is also safe. The recommended daily allowance is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. High doses of vitamin C (greater than 2000 milligrams per day for adults) may cause kidney stones, nausea, and diarrhea.
Benefits of Vitamin C:
Antioxidant property: Strong Antioxidant That May Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases and can strengthen your body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system. They do so by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. When free radicals accumulate, they can promote a state known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases. Studies show that consuming more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%. This helps the body’s natural defenses fight inflammation
Maintains healthy blood pressure: Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in those both with and without high blood pressure. Studies have found that consuming vitamin C helps to relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helps reduce blood pressure levels. On average, talking a vitamin C supplement reduced the upper value (systolic blood pressure) by 3.84 mmHg and the lower value (diastolic blood pressure) by 1.48 mmHg in healthy adults. In adults with existing high blood pressure, vitamin C supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.85 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.67 mmHg, on average.
Lowers risk of heart disease: Many factors increase the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Vitamin C may help reduce these risk factors, which may reduce heart disease risk. Analysis of several studies combined, revealed that people who took at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not take a vitamin C supplement. Another analysis revealed that taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides.
Reduces uric acid levels in blood: Gout is a type of arthritis that affects approximately 4% of American adults. It is incredibly painful and involves inflammation of the joints, especially those of the big toes. People with gout experience swelling and sudden, severe attacks of pain. Gout symptoms appear when there is too much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product produced by the body. At high levels, it may crystallize and deposit in the joints. Interestingly, several studies have shown that vitamin C may help reduce uric acid in the blood and, as a result, protect against gout attacks.
Improves absorption of iron: Iron is an important nutrient that has a variety of functions in the body. It is essential for making red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Interestingly, vitamin C supplements can help improve the absorption of iron from the diet. Vitamin C assists in converting iron that is poorly absorbed, such as plant-based sources of iron, into a form that is easier to absorb. This is especially useful for people on a meat-free diet, as meat is a major source of iron. As a result, vitamin C may help reduce the risk of anemia among people prone to iron deficiency.
Improves immunity: One of the main reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to boost their immunity. Vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system. First, vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infections. Second, vitamin C helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals. Third, vitamin C is an essential part of the skin’s defense system. It is actively transported to the skin where it can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin’s barriers. Studies have also shown that taking vitamin C may shorten wound healing time.
Helps fight Stress: “A recent meta-analysis showed vitamin C was beneficial to individuals whose immune system was weakened due to stress — a condition which is very common in our society,” says Moyad. And, he adds, “because vitamin C is one of the nutrients sensitive to stress, and [is] the first nutrient to be depleted in alcoholics, smokers, and obese individuals, it makes it an ideal marker for overall health.”
Helps with colds: When it comes to the common cold, vitamin C may not be a cure. But some studies show that it may help prevent more serious complications. “There is good evidence taking vitamin C for colds and flu can reduce the risk of developing further complications, such as pneumonia and lung infections,” For example, people who suffer from pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten the recovery time
Delays Skin Aging: Vitamin C affects cells on the inside and outside of the body. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined links between nutrient intakes and skin aging in 4,025 women aged 40-74. It found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance, dryness of the skin, and a better skin-aging appearance.
Helps against Vision Loss: There is some evidence that vitamin C supplements may slow the progression of macular degeneration, an aging-related eye disorder characterized by vision loss.
A 2001 study in the Archives of Ophthalmology reported that people at high risk of the disease who took 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day, along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc, slowed the progression of macular degeneration by 25% and the loss of visual acuity by 19%.
Vitamin C has been linked to reduced risks of eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Promotes brain health: Dementia is a broad term used to describe symptoms of poor thinking and memory. Studies suggest that oxidative stress and inflammation near the brain, spine and nerves (altogether known as the central nervous system) can increase the risk of dementia. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant. Low levels of this vitamin have been linked to an impaired ability to think and remember. Moreover, several studies have shown that people with dementia may have lower levels of vitamin C in the blood. Furthermore, high vitamin C intakes from food or supplements have been shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory with age.
Vitamin C and cancer therapy: Vitamin C may help in treating cancer. As an antioxidant, it protects the body against oxidative stress and helps prevent the oxidation of other molecules. It appears to regenerate other antioxidants in the body, too. Oxidation reactions produce free radicals. Free radicals can start chain reactions that damage cells. High doses of vitamin C have been found to reduce the speed of growth of some types of cancerous tissue. Researchers have proposed using vitamin C in cancer patients whose treatment options are limited.
Other possible benefits:
- Vitamin C intake may help wounds, cuts, and grazes heal faster as vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen.
- People with adequate levels of vitamin C are thought to be better able to fight off infections
- Vitamin C may also help prevent acute respiratory infections, especially in people with malnutrition and those who are physically stressed.
- Research has also concluded that adding vitamin C to tuberculosis drugs could shorten therapy.
In short, the benefits of Vitamin C are many. Incorporating it into your daily diet through vitamin containing fruits and vegetables or supplements will help improve your health and enable you to not only live a healthy life, but also enjoy it!