- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the most popular vitamins that offers numerous benefits to our health and well-being from heart, brain to skin health and more.
- In this article we look at 10 benefits of taking vitamin C, whether as food or supplements.
- Recommended supplement? Liposomal vitamin C that offers enhanced absorption and bioavailability.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a popular antioxidant that is vital for health. It helps maintain a healthy immune system, form and maintain skin, bones, blood vessels among many others.
In this article we look at the benefits of vitamin C, and why you should make it a daily component of your diet.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, that must be obtained from food or supplements. The fact that it’s water-soluble means it’s not stored in the body, and you must take it daily. It also means you cannot overdose on it.
Vitamin C has been linked to impressive health benefits. Here are 10 benefits of taking vitamin C:
1) Vitamin C Boosts Immunity
The main reason vitamin C boosts immunity is it’s involved in many parts of the immune system:
- Vitamin C helps in production of lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help the body protect itself against infections (1)
- Vitamin C helps white blood cells work more effectively. It also protects them from damage by free radicals
- Vitamin C protects the skin from damage from free radicals and UV radiation
Studies show that taking vitamin C shortens wound healing (2).
People with low vitamin C are linked to poor health outcomes. For example, people with pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels. Vitamin C reduces recovery time in these patients (3).
2) Vitamin C Helps Produce Collagen
The body needs vitamin C to produce collagen. Collagen is the main component of connective tissue and 1-2% of muscles.
Collagen is a vital component of
- Tendons, ligaments and cartilage
- Hair and nails
- Blood vessels
As you can see, vitamin C will help you have a smooth supple skin, strong joints, healthy hair and nails, healthy eyesight, etc.
5) Vitamin C May Help Lower The Risk Of Heart Disease
Heart disease is caused mainly by high blood pressure, high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Vitamin C reduces these factors, protecting you from heart disease.
6) Vitamin C May Help Prevent Gout Attacks
Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. When the levels get too high, uric acid crystallizes, usually in the joints, leading to gout attack.
8) Vitamin C Protects Your Memory And Thinking
As we have seen, vitamin C is a strong anti-oxidant that protects our cells from inflammation.
Studies show that oxidative stress and inflammation in the central nervous system can increase the risk of dementia (11).
9) Vitamin C May Help People With Diabetes
A 2019 study (15) showed that taking vitamin C supplements for 4 months showed that patients taking Vitamin C had their blood glucose levels and blood pressure improve compared to placebo.
This could help people with diabetes.
10) Vitamin C May Help Reduce Allergies
During an allergic reaction, the immune system triggers an inflammatory reaction, which causes swelling and hives. This process can lead to oxidative stress.
A 2018 study showed that taking vitamin C reduces allergy symptoms (16).
Vitamin C Dosage Per Day And Side Effects
The recommended dosage of vitamin C ranges from 40-90 mg per day, with 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women recommended.
Additional vitamin C is necessary during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
Taking high doses of vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, however, doses as high as 2000 mg may not be fully absorbed into the body, and may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea.
People with increased risk of iron accumulation in the body (such as hemochromatosis) should be cautious with vitamin C dosage. Too much iron can cause tissue damage. However, this is quite rare, and is likely to occur to people with a condition that increases iron absorption and consuming excess iron.
Extreme doses over 2000 mg/day may cause kidney stones (17). Consequently, people who are prone to kidney stones should be cautious with vitamin C dosage.
Sources Of Vitamin C
The best sources of vitamin C is fresh fruits and vegetables. Heating denatures (destroys) vitamin C so taking them raw is recommended.
Some good sources are oranges, lemons, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and green peas.
However, since most people don’t get enough vitamin C, a vitamin C supplement is recommended.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has many functions, such as maintaining a healthy immune system, collagen production, reducing oxidative stress and enhancing wound healing.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, so should be taken every day either in food or supplements. It’s generally safe to use especially in recommended dosages 75-90 mg a day.