Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and is a water-soluble, antioxidant vitamin that plays a role in more than 300 bodily functions. It is essential to help support health and wellness and requires daily replenishment.
How Vitamin C Benefits Your Body
Your body cannot product Vitamin C, that is why it is called an essential vitamin, meaning your body can’t produce it but it has many roles and health benefits for your body.
Where is Vitamin C found?
In many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach. It is recommended that you intake 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men every day.
Get your vitamin C intake from foods if you can but if not many people take supplements to meet their needs.
Proven benefits of vitamin C
May reduce your risk of chronic disease
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant (which boost the immune system) so it can strengthen your body’s natural defences and protect your cells from free radicals.
Free radicals cause 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% and so helps the body’s natural defences to fight inflammation.
Vitamin C may help manage high blood pressure
Approximately one-third of have high blood pressure, which puts you at risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure whether you have high blood pressure or not because it would seem to help relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart.
An analysis found that taking a vitamin C supplement reduced systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in healthy adults.
However, people with high blood pressure should not rely on vitamin C alone and it should not replace any medication you are taking for high blood pressure
Vitamin C may reduce your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Many factors increase the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, high triglyceride or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Vitamin C may help reduce these risk factors, which may reduce heart disease risk.
An analysis of studies found that after 10 years, 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. Of course, consuming vitamin C from foods was also linked to a lower risk of heart disease however it is not clear whether people who have a higher intake of vitamin C from foods simply had a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Another analysis found that taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduced bad cholesterol.
Vitamin C may reduce blood uric acid levels and help prevent gout attacks
Gout is a type of arthritis that affects approximately 4% of adults. Gout is an extremely incredibly painful condition because it causes 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. Studies have shown that vitamin C may help reduce uric acid in the blood and, as a result, protect against gout attacks.
Vitamin C helps prevent iron deficiency
Iron is an important nutrient and is essential for making red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body as well as many other functions.
Vitamin C supplements can help improve the absorption of iron from the diet by converting 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.
Simply consuming 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by up to 67% and thus help reduce the risk of anemia among people prone to iron deficiency.
Vitamin C boosts immunity
One of the main reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to boost their immunity as it helps encourage the production of white blood cells which help protect the body against infection.
Vitamin C also helps white blood cells become more effective and protects them from damage by harmful molecules like free radicals.
Vitamin C is also essential for the skin’s defence because it's transported to the skin, where it can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin’s barriers.
It has been shown that taking vitamin C may shorten wound healing time.
On the other hand, low vitamin C levels are often linked to poor health outcomes.
Vitamin C protects your memory and ability to think as you get older
Dementia is a broad term used to describe symptoms of poor thinking and memory. It affects millions of people and typically occurs among older adults.
Studies suggest that oxidative stress and inflammation near the brain, spine, and nerves can increase the risk of dementia. Because Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, low levels of it have been linked to an impaired ability to think and remember. Several studies have shown that people with dementia may have lower blood levels of vitamin C.
Conversely, high vitamin C intake from food or supplements has been shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory as you age.