Uses of Vitamin C

Since we were babies, my Mom had her own regular routine of giving us Vitamin C in drops and even both of my Mom and Dad never doubted for a moment the ultimate benefits of Vitamin C in our bodies. That was why they too considered taking Vitamin C as a normal part of their daily consumption.

Then this continued on until we got into adulthood. Even now we are all still huge fanatics of taking Vitamin C especially myself and it is a daily routine for me with the rest of my other types of vitamins.

For the past two years, immune health has been a hot topic worldwide. Everybody is so concerned about the state of their immunity with very good reason.

Before we dig in deep about this most wanted Vitamin today, let’s find out what actually is Vitamin C.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. It is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues.

It is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement. It is used to prevent and treat scurvy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters

It is found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Vitamin C is also available as an oral supplement, typically in the form of capsules and chewable tablets. Most people get enough vitamin C from a healthy diet.

It is used to form an important protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.

The safe upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 milligrams a day, and there is a great track record with strong evidence that taking 500 milligrams daily is safe. For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, mega doses of vitamin C supplements might cause diarrhea.

Time-Released Vitamin C

Time-release vitamin C is often the preferred choice since vitamin C has better bioavailability when taken in smaller doses throughout the day. A time-release formula aims to solve this problem without taking multiple tablets, by releasing the vitamin C slowly throughout the day.

Vitamin C can stay in the body for weeks. Levels of vitamin C in the blood are controlled by the kidneys through a process known as ‘renal reabsorption,’ which prevents vitamin C from being lost in the urine.

While most animals can synthesize their own vitamin C, humans cannot. Since we can’t make it, and it’s critical for our health, we must eat food that contains vitamin C. This, plus the fact that vitamin C is the least stable vitamin, is why it’s an essential nutrient to eat (or supplement).

There had been a lot of buzzes about Vitamin C to support not only our immune system but other illnesses. So, let’s have a look at what this beloved vitamin can do for us.

9 Benefits of Vitamin C

1. Antioxidant

As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C reduces oxidative stress in your body. Extensive research shows that diets rich in daily vitamin C are associated with a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, certain cancers, eye diseases, and neurodegenerative conditions that affect cognitive health. Vitamin C can also regenerate other antioxidants, such as vitamin E, by lowering free radicals formed when vitamin E scavenges oxygen radicals.

2. Boosts immunity

One of the main reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to boost their immunity, as 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 infection.

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’s 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.

What’s more, low vitamin C levels have been linked to poor health outcomes.

For example, people who have pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten the recovery time.

3. Skin Health

Vitamin C is part of your external defense system as well, as it plays a primary role in the health and integrity of your skin. This is because daily vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, the most abundant protein in your body’s connective tissue as it helps strengthen your skin’s barriers, which is important to fight the spread of viruses as well as protect your skin with all the hand-washing you’re doing. (You are washing your hands a lot, right?)

4. Iron Absorption

Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, which can help prevent iron deficiency. For instance, eating a combination of tomatoes and lentils, or tomatoes and beans, at the same time, can enhance how much iron you absorb. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding 100 mg of vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) to meals boosted iron absorption by 67%.

5. Chronic Disease Prevention

It’s also protective against oxidative stress in the brain, especially when it comes to diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Your eyes can benefit from daily vitamin C too, which may even help slow age-related diseases like cataracts. It may also help improve fertility in men, primarily by improving sperm quality.

6. May help manage high blood pressure

Approximately one-third of American adults have high blood pressure. Studies have found vitamin C to play a role in preventing heart disease, primarily by managing blood pressure.

High blood pressure puts you at risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death globally.

Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in both those with and without high blood pressure.

An animal study found that taking a vitamin C supplement helped relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helped reduce blood pressure levels.

Moreover, an analysis of 29 human studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper value) by 3.8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the lower value) by 1.5 mm Hg, on average, in healthy adults.

In adults with high blood pressure, vitamin C supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 mm Hg, on average.

While these results are promising, it’s not clear whether the effects on blood pressure are long term. Moreover, people with high blood pressure should not rely on vitamin C alone for treatment.

7. May lower 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.

For example, an analysis of 9 studies with a combined 293,172 participants 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.

Interestingly, another analysis of 15 studies found that consuming vitamin C from foods — not supplements — was linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

However, scientists were unsure whether people who consumed vitamin-C-rich foods also followed a healthier lifestyle than people who took a supplement. Thus, it remains unclear whether the differences were due to vitamin C or other aspects of their diet (11Trusted Source).

Another analysis of 13 studies looked at the effects of taking at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily on risk factors for heart disease, such as blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The analysis found that taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by approximately 7.9 mg/dL and blood triglycerides by 20.1 mg/dL

In short, it seems that taking or consuming at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, if you already consume a vitamin-C-rich diet, then supplements may not provide additional heart health benefits.

8. May reduce blood uric acid levels and help prevent gout attacks

Gout is a type of arthritis that affects approximately 4% of American adults.

It’s 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.

For example, a study including 1,387 men found that those who consumed the most vitamin C had significantly lowered blood levels of uric acid than those who consumed the least.

Another study followed 46,994 healthy men over 20 years to determine whether vitamin C intake was linked to developing gout. It found that people who took a vitamin C supplement had a 44% lower gout risk.

Additionally, an analysis of 13 studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement over 30 days significantly reduced blood uric acid, compared with a placebo.

While there appears to be a strong link between vitamin C intake and uric acid levels, more studies on the effects of vitamin C on gout are needed.

9. Protects your memory and thinking as you age

Dementia is a broad term used to describe symptoms of poor thinking and memory.

It affects over 35 million people worldwide and typically occurs among older adults.

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 lowered blood levels of vitamin C.

Furthermore, high vitamin C intake from food or supplements has been shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory as you age.

Vitamin C supplements may aid against conditions like dementia if you don’t get enough vitamin C from your diet. However, additional human studies are needed to understand the effects of vitamin C supplements on nervous system health.

4 Unproven claims about vitamin C

While vitamin C has many scientifically proven benefits, it also has many unfounded claims supported by either weak evidence or no evidence at all.

Here are some unproven claims about vitamin C:

  • Prevents the common cold. While vitamin C appears to reduce the severity of colds and recovery time by 8% in adults and 14% in children, it does not prevent them.
  • Reduces cancer risk. A handful of studies have linked vitamin C intake to a lower risk of several cancers. However, most studies have found that vitamin C does not affect the risk of developing cancer.
  • Protects against eye disease. Vitamin C has been linked to reduced risks of eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. However, vitamin C supplements have no effect or may even cause harm.
  • May treat lead toxicity. Although people with lead toxicity appear to have low vitamin C levels, there is no strong evidence from human studies that show vitamin C can treat lead toxicity.

How Much Daily Vitamin C Do You Need?

Daily vitamin C amounts vary between 15 mg-120 mg per day. Pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly, should aim for the upper end of that range. The average adult requires 75-90 mg of daily vitamin C, which you can easily obtain from a healthy, plant-centered diet. For reference, one large orange contains approximately 100 mg of vitamin C. Truth in advertising from the Florida Department of Citrus!

When you consume vitamin C in moderate amounts (say, 30-180 mg per day), your body absorbs around 70-90% of it. When you start taking more than 1,000 mg per day (nearly impossible to do without supplementation), absorption rates decrease to less than 50%. Leftover vitamin C passes out of your body in urine.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Vitamin C?

People who get little or no vitamin C (below about 10 mg per day) for many weeks can get scurvy. Not getting enough daily vitamin C has well-established negative health effects.

The primary consequence of vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, a disease in which people experience fatigue, skin rash, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing, and corkscrew hairs open and unhealing sores, inflammation of the gums bleeding gums, and bruising. If untreated, it can lead to death.

The Discovery of Scurvy

The discovery of vitamin C and scurvy happened at the same time, in the 1920s, when vitamin C deficiency was a serious and fairly common condition. Sailors on long sea voyages who subsisted on fish, dried meats, and hardtack (a basic biscuit or cracker), with no access to fresh or preserved produce, frequently experienced symptoms of scurvy, a disease characterized by the breakdown of connective tissues.

Historians estimate that between the first voyage of Columbus and the rise of the steam engine in the mid-19th century, over two million sailors perished from the disease. Shipping companies and governments assumed that half of the sailors would die from scurvy on any given voyage.

After experimenting with useless and often dangerous treatments like vinegar, “elixir of vitriol” (a particularly alarming cocktail of sulfuric acid and alcohol), and various potent laxatives, seamen finally discovered a solution in the mid-1700s. When a badly damaged British naval fleet made their way to Juan Fernández Island (off the coast of what is now Chile) with just a few hundred men left alive out of the original 1200, they (seemingly) miraculously reversed their scurvy once they began eating the foods readily available on the island: oats, clover, radishes, sorrel, and other vegetable foods rich in vitamin C.

While greens were impractical to sail with, citrus fruits could be taken on board and stored and distributed to sailors to keep them healthy. Once the sailors received fresh fruits and vegetables, scurvy could be reversed and prevented. Navies and shipping companies began taking oranges, lemons, and limes on these voyages to treat and prevent the sailors’ disease. The tie is so strong that “ascorbic” in the chemical name for vitamin C actually means “anti-scurvy.”

Scurvy Risk Today

Today, scurvy is very rare, especially if your diet is rich in fruits and veggies. Most scurvy cases are associated with a vitamin C intake of fewer than 10 mg per day. Some people are more at risk, however, including those who smoke, infants fed evaporated or boiled milk (as this can destroy vitamin C), people who consume diets of limited variety, and individuals who have absorption problems.

Summary:

Vitamin C…

• Is an antioxidant — it helps eliminate free radicals in the body.

• Supports defense cells — it helps improve the quantity and function of many key cells essential to the immune system.

• Strengthens the lining of your organs — it helps prevent unwanted particles that enter through the airways or digestive tract from penetrating the bloodstream.

• Bolsters skin health — it boosts skin health, which can also deter outside invaders from entering your body.

And this is just how vitamin C helps your immune system.

It has a wide range of benefits outside of this…

It boosts the health of your nails and hair – leaving you feeling and looking great!

It helps increase iron absorption…

Helps wounds heal…

Contributes to bone health…

And so much more!

Vitamin C Supplement

It truly is one of the most beneficial vitamins. And the best way to get vitamin C is through a healthy diet. But that can be difficult to keep track of.

And as we mentioned before…

Soil depletion has decreased the amount of not just vitamin C…But many nutrients in foods that otherwise should be loaded with them.

This is why it’s important to supplement. So you can know how much you’re getting. And to help you do this…We’ve got our favorite Vitamin C available right here. It’s wise to supplement.

And to be aware of your vitamin intake. But too many supplements just don’t do enough. They pass through your body unabsorbed…

The best place to get your vitamin C is from food. Peppers, citrus, and guavas are especially high in it.

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Please let us know in the comments below:

  • What are some of your favorite vitamin C-rich foods?
  • Have you heard of IV vitamin C as a treatment for viral diseases like COVID-19? What do you think about that?
  • Do you take daily vitamin C? Why or why not?

Disclaimer

Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits

https://hop.clickbank.net/?affiliate=DIVINEALL&vendor=nthrv&r=vitaminc

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/why-daily-vitamin-c-is-good-for-your-immune-system/

 

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