Health Benefits Of Vitamin C
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Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate, has been one of the most researched vitamins over the last 50 years. A search of the scientific literature reveals that over 53,000 studies have been conducted on vitamin C since 1968. Their findings show that it helps promote a strong immune system as well as cardiovascular, brain, and skin health among many others benefits.
Many scientists believe that at one time the human body had the ability to make vitamin C, but lost this capacity over time. Essentially, all species of animals, including most mammals, can make vitamin Cthe exceptions are humans, monkeys and guinea pigs. The brain and adrenal glands have the highest concentrations of vitamin C, 15 to 50 times higher than that found in the blood. This makes sense when one realizes that vitamin C was first discovered by Albert Szent-Györgyi in 1928 while he was conducting research on the adrenal glands. Vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties, is also an enzyme co-factor for at least eight important biochemical reactions.
Benefits Of Vitamin C That Prove This Nutrient Helps More Than Immune Health
The age-old advice to eat oranges when you’re sick isn’t entirely a myth.
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While vitamin C plays an important role in your immune function, that’s just one of the many health benefits of vitamin C.
Although more research is needed in many areas of study, one thing is clear: Vitamin C is good for a number of functions in your body and can promote overall wellbeing.
While it’s best to get your daily recommended amount of vitamin C through food sources , there may be benefits of vitamin C supplements for some people as well.
However, always talk to your doctor before you start taking a new supplement.
Why Is Vitamin C Important For My Health
Vitamin C has many important functions in the body, including keeping your skin, bones and connective tissue healthy as well as help your body absorb iron. Some people incorrectly believe vitamin C will help prevent you from catching the common cold. While there have been many attempts to support this idea with research-based evidence, there is still no convincing proof of a significant benefit. A high dose of vitamin C taken as soon as you get symptoms may, however, lessen the duration of a cold.
A major vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy. This condition can involve bone and blood vessel disease, bleeding, pain in the hands and feet, and in extreme cases, death.
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Health Benefits Of Vitamin C: What Does It Do
Last Updated on January 3, 2020 by Michael Joseph
Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that plays a part in numerous vital processes in our body.
This article will examine what vitamin C is, what it does, and the science-backed health benefits it has.
Additionally, we will look at how much vitamin C we need per day and how requirements can change.
Vitamin C May Be Good For Your Skin
A 2017 study found that healthy skin contains high levels of vitamin C because it both assists collagen production and prevents sun damage.
Vitamin C can help stimulate collagen production in the skin. Collagen is a protein that provides skin with its structure and stretch. As we age, our body naturally produces less collagen, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines. Topical application of vitamin C may help regenerate lost collagen.
Vitamin C also removes oxidants caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which helps to prevent sun damage. Ultraviolet radiation causes premature aging of the skin, resulting in wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin sagging. Vitamin C also inhibits the production of melanin a pigment that can cause dark patches on the skin.
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Vitamin C Is Good For Physical And Mental Health
All-in-all, vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that doesnt have a good reputation by accident. Alongside how it improves your ability to heal wounds and reduce inflammation inside and outside your body, as well as giving you a great look, it has also been marginally viewed as a vitamin that gives you more energy and boosts your mental health.
Although hard to really nail down, people with higher levels of vitamin C have been observed to be less likely to suffer from depression and fatigue. Whether this is due to all the other aforementioned benefits is hard to say, but more importantly you should just increase the amount of vitamin C-rich foods you eat and see for yourself, you wont be disappointed!
What Studies Have Been Done Using High
Laboratory studies and animal studies have been done to find out if high-dose vitamin C may be useful in preventing or treating cancer.
Many laboratory studies have been done to find out how high-dose vitamin C may cause the death of cancer cells. The anticancer effect of vitamin C in different types of cancer cells involves a chemical reaction that makes hydrogen peroxide, which may kill cancer cells.
Laboratory studies have shown the following:
- Treatment with high-dose vitamin C slowed the growth and spread of prostate, pancreatic, liver, colon, malignant mesothelioma, neuroblastoma, and other types of cancer cells.
- Combining high-dose vitamin C with certain types of chemotherapy may be more effective than chemotherapy alone:
- Ascorbic acid with arsenic trioxide may be more effective in ovarian cancer cells.
- Ascorbic acid with gemcitabine may be more effective in pancreatic cancer cells.
- Ascorbic acid with gemcitabine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate may be more effective in malignant mesothelioma cells.
However, not all laboratory studies combining vitamin C with anticancer therapies have shown benefit. Combining dehydroascorbic acid, a particular form of vitamin C, with chemotherapy made it less effective in killing some kinds of cancer cells.
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Vitamin C Increases Calcium Absorption Boosts Bone Health
Going back to the synergy between different nutrients there is a relationship between vitamin C and calcium.
Notably, vitamin C enhances the absorption of calcium in the intestines .
One of the benefits of this increased absorption is greater bone mass density, and therefore, improved skeletal health.
To explain one study shows that postmenopausal women taking calcium alongside high vitamin C intake have increased bone mass density .
Further to this, a study among the Korean adult population found that the prevalence of osteoporosis drops as vitamin C intake increases .
What Is Vitamin C Used For
Vitamin C has been used to treat and prevent many conditions, including:
- Asthma, a chronic lung disease
- Bronchitis, an inflammation of the air passages in the lungs
Vitamin C deficiency is treated with vitamin C supplements. Some symptoms improve within the first 24 hours of treatment. Others may take a few weeks to go away.
In severe cases, the bones may be affected. When this happens, surgery may be needed.
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Risks And Side Effects
Vitamin C is not stored in the body and excess amounts are excreted, so overdosing on this water-soluble vitamin is not generally a concern. However, it is still important not to exceed the safe upper limit of 2,000 milligrams a day to avoid adverse symptoms and vitamin C side effects, such as stomach upset and diarrhea.
A recent study also found a link between taking vitamin C supplements and kidney stones in men, reporting that taking supplementation resulted in a significantly higher risk of kidney stones. If you have a history of kidney stones, you should consider consulting with your doctor before starting supplementation, or simply try increasing your intake of vitamin C foods and drinks to meet your daily needs instead.
Vitamin C supplements may also interact with certain types of medications. In particular, it may interact with estrogen, protease inhibitors, certain anticoagulants, niacin and aluminum-containing medications like phosphate binders. If youre currently taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor before starting supplementation.
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Vitamin C As A Natural Antihistamine
In addition to supporting the immune system, vitamin C also acts as a natural antihistamine, which is great news for anyone who suffers from allergies.
Histamines are inflammatory compounds that are a normal part of immune response but when they overreact in certain instances, they can cause an allergic reaction. Vitamin C can help temper that allergic response of seasonal allergies, but understand it is not a treatment for severe allergic reactions, so call your doctor or seek immediate medical care if this is what youre experiencing.
Histamines can also play a role in PMS. Histamine in your body, while part of the normal female cycle, can create issues, causing anxiety, migraines, and period pain. Taking vitamin C regularly might help with PMS symptoms that are a result of inflammation caused by histamines.
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Vitamin C And Neurodegenerative Disorders
Very few studies have examined the effect of vitamin C with typical antipsychotics in the treatment of schizophrenia. Oral supplementation of vitamin C with antipsychotic reverses AA levels, reduces oxidative stress, and improves BPRS score, hence both the drugs in combination can be used in the treatment of schizophrenia . The findings of another study suggest that antioxidant supplement therapy as an adjuvant therapy is useful in patients with stress-induced psychiatric disorders . There are also reports advocating beneficial effect of vitamin C in neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimers disease. Overall there is large body of evidence supporting that maintaining healthy vitamin C level can have a protective function against age related cognitive decline but avoiding vitamin C deficiency is likely to be more beneficial than taking supplements on top of normal healthy diet .
Side Effects And Precautions
Despite the many benefits of this powerful micronutrient, there are a few vitamin C supplement side effects that need to be considered as well. Although supplementation is generally safe when used as directed, taking very high doses can cause issues like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and headaches. Taking vitamin C supplements can also increase urinary excretion of oxalate, which could increase the risk of kidney stones.
Because vitamin C increases iron absorption, you should consult with your doctor before starting supplementation if you have any conditions that impact iron metabolism, such as hemochromatosis. With these conditions, taking vitamin C could potentially cause iron to accumulate in the body and cause damage to the organs.
Finally, keep in mind that supplements should be used to complement a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle and should not be viewed as a quick fix for better health. If youre looking to treat or prevent a specific health condition, talk with a trusted health care professional prior to starting supplementation.
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Vitamin C Helps Maintain Healthy Skin And Hair
If you want clearer skin and stronger hair then vitamin C plays a major role in making sure this becomes a reality. Vitamin C helps build the protein collagen and coupled with the aforementioned absorption of iron youll not only have healthier skin and hair but youll maintain it.
Today, collagen is a bit of a buzzword but rather avoid supplementation and consume collagen-rich foods such as berries and foods high in omega-3 such as avocados and salmon. Alongside your vitamin C diet youll ensure your natural beauty forever.
It Can Help Minimise The Appearance Of Uv Damage
Vitamin Cs known to be able to reduce the appearance of UV damage caused by molecules called free radicals.
However, its important to note that it doesnt work in the same way as sunscreen so its important to always wear sunscreen. It doesnt absorb UV light, its antioxidant properties help to protect against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals instead.15
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Vitamin C And Heavy Metal Toxicity
Metals including iron, copper, chromium, and vanadium undergo redox cycling, while cadmium, mercury, and nickel, as well as lead deplete glutathione and protein-bound sulfhydryl groups, resulting in the production of ROS as superoxide ion, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radical. As a consequence, enhanced lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, and altered calcium and sulfhydryl homeostasis occur . Various experimental studies report the beneficial effect of vitamin C against heavy metal toxicity. Lead is considered as one of the common environmental poison in which protective role of vitamin C is extensively studied. A recent experimental study based on histopathological examination revealed the diminution of detrimental effects of chronic lead intoxication on liver, kidneys, brain and testes . In another study lead induced electrophysiological changes were inhibited in rat colon by AA administration . The beneficial effect of AA on lead concentrations in human studies is however inconclusive. A large survey comprising of 19,578 participants without prior history of lead poisoning reported that blood levels of AA are inversely related to plasma AA and recent dietary intake had no influence on blood levels. This study surmises that there may be a protective relationship between AA and lead .
Newly Discovered Health Benefits Of Vitamin C
Long considered a critical component of a life-extension program, doctors are now documenting how vitamin C battles endothelial dysfunction and heart disease as well as the DNA damage that causes cancer.
Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021. Written By Julius Goepp, MD.
Vitamin C is rapidly finding new applications in protecting against endothelial dysfunction, high blood pressure, and the blood vessel changes that precede heart disease.1-3 Additional research is discovering that vitamin C can be helpful in preventing asthma,4 protecting against cancer,5 and supporting healthy blood sugar levels in diabetics.6
While often taken for granted, vitamin C is a critical supplement in your program to improve cardiac health and avoid degenerative diseases.
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Helps Prevent Iron Deficiency
Iron is an important nutrient that has a variety of functions in the body. Its essential for making red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body.
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.
In fact, simply consuming 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67% .
As a result, vitamin C may help reduce the risk of anemia among people prone to iron deficiency.
In one study, 65 children with mild iron deficiency anemia were given a vitamin C supplement. Researchers found that the supplement alone helped control their anemia .
If you have low iron levels, consuming more vitamin-C-rich foods or taking a vitamin C supplement may help improve your blood iron levels.
Vitamin C can improve the absorption of iron that is poorly absorbed, such as iron from meat-free sources. It may also reduce the risk of iron deficiency.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin C
As mentioned above, Vitamin C is well known for supporting your immune system.
But what about other Vitamin C benefits? This vital nutrient supports normal growth and development throughout the body.1 In addition, Vitamin C delivers antioxidant properties that help neutralize damaging free radicals.3 The body also needs Vitamin C to make collagen, a fibrous protein in connective tissue that connects various systems in the body such as nervous, immune, bone, cartilage, blood, and others.4,
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Are Vitamin C Supplements Necessary
It is always best to get your nutrients from food rather than supplements.
Fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, are good sources. Foods naturally rich in vitamin C include:
- Raw red peppers: 95 mg per 1/2-cup serving
- Orange juice: 90 mg per 3/4-cup serving
- Orange: 70 mg per one medium fruit
- Kiwi: 64 mg per one medium fruit
- Raw green peppers: 60 mg per 1/2-cup serving
- Cooked broccoli: 51 mg per 1/2-cup serving
- Strawberries: 49 mg per 1/2-cup serving
- Cooked Brussels sprouts: 48 mg per 1/2-cup serving
- Tomato juice: 33 mg per 1/2-cup serving
- Cantaloupe: 29 mg per 1/2-cup serving
If you don’t get enough vitamin C from what you eat, a supplement can help get you to the right levels.
Minimizing Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices
Vitamin C may offer important protective benefits for smokers and those who are passively exposed to tobacco smoke. Smoking has been linked with elevated levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker linked with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. As Life Extension readers know, it is crucial to monitor your CRP levels through regular blood testing and to keep your CRP under control in order to limit cardiovascular problems. Fortunately, vitamin C has been shown to play a role in helping to combat excessive CRP levels.
Researchers in Berkeley evaluated the impact of antioxidant supplementation on blood levels of CRP in both active and passive smokers.24 They studied 160 healthy adults who were actively or passively exposed to cigarette smoke and randomly assigned to receive placebo, vitamin C , or an antioxidant mixture . Subjects in the vitamin C group underwent a significant 24% reduction in their plasma CRP concentrations, while neither of the other groups showed a significant change. This remarkable result provides strong support for chronic supplementation with vitamin C, whether or not you smoke.
Literally scores of other studies have been published demonstrating the benefits of vitamin C supplements in smokers and those passively exposed to cigarette smoke. One study found that 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily for just two weeks reduced the depletion of vitamin E caused by smoking by up to 50%.26
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