Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential water-soluble vitamin and, nowadays, has received a great deal of attention, that too with all good reason. It is known as an immune-boosting super nutrient. But apart from being an immunity booster, it also plays several other vital roles in our body. Let’s have a look at the benefits of taking vitamin C.
Function of Vitamin C in the Body
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the growth and repair of tissue. It helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy skin, bones, teeth, and cartilage. It is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals (unstable cells) and helps prevent oxidative cellular damage, which is the prime reason for many inflammatory diseases. It may also help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease and promote healthy aging.
Vitamin C involves several biochemical processes. It helps activate numerous vital enzymes in the body, responsible for synthesizing hormones that help control the cardiovascular system's response to severe infections. It also builds collagen, a tough protein found in skin and connective tissues that strengthens the skin against injury. It also seems to reduce the risk of cartilage loss in those with osteoarthritis.
Vitamin C also helps the body absorb better non-heme iron (iron sourced from plant foods such as beans, lentils, watermelon, spinach, etc.)..
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
- Powerful Antioxidant: Vitamin C is one of those micronutrients that also serves as an antioxidant, protecting us against the damage caused by free radicals produced by toxic chemicals, UV rays, pollutants like cigarette smoke, etc. If left untreated, these free radicals can build up and contribute to the development of many health conditions such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, etc.
Natural Immunity- Booster: Vitamin C is your natural immunity-booster, as it is involved in the proper working of the immune system. It helps encourage white blood cells (fighter cells), which help protect the body against infection. It is even beneficial to individuals whose immune systems are badly affected due to stress.
Being a potent antioxidant, Vitamin C also helps these fighter cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C may also boost the fatty membranes in the skin and connective tissue, strengthening the skin’s barriers. Research studies have also shown that taking vitamin C supplements may shorten wound healing time and fasten the recovery from injury.
- Promote Healthy Skin: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a better skin-aging appearance and a lower likelihood of skin aging such as wrinkles, skin dryness, etc
Relief from Cold: A 2013 research review of several dozen studies shows that vitamin C supplements reduce the duration and severity of colds among the general population. The review also found that vitamin C supplements taken during cold can reduce the course of the illness by 8% in adults and 14% in children. Participants in each study were supplemented a daily dose of at least 200 mg of vitamin C for varying periods.
A 2019 report in cell culture and preclinical studies noted that when bugs infiltrate the body, vitamin C helps direct immune cells (neutrophils) to the site of infection and protects these cells against free radicals.
Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A research study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood were linked with 42% lower stroke risk than those with the lowest concentrations of vitamin C.
Lowers the high blood pressure: Vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in patients with and without high blood pressure. Taking a vitamin C supplement helped relax the blood vessels, which further helped reduce blood pressure levels.
- Prevent Iron Deficiency: Vitamin C helps improve the absorption of iron from the diet by converting poorly absorbed plant-based sources of iron into a form that is easier to absorb. To get this benefit, combine both vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich plant foods in the same meal. Such as add lemon juice in pulses and lentils gravy or make a salad dressing adding lemon juice in it, etc.
- Protect the brain against degenerative disease: Oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and central nervous system (CNS); lead to an increase in the risk of dementia. While being an antioxidant, Vitamin C protects the CNS from inflammation and oxidative damage by free- radicals. Thus, it is shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory as we age.
Top Food Source
Unlike other animals, we humans cannot make vitamin C on their own. Therefore, we must get it from foods or supplements to maintain good health.
Vitamin C is mainly found in fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, all citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, lime, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, green chili, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, turnip greens, beet greens, and spinach, etc. Therefore, eating various Vitamin-C-rich fruits and vegetables can go a long way in supporting optimal health and wellness.
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunity-boosting properties with many health benefits. It supports wound healing, collagen formation, boost immunity, delay signs of aging, and promote healthy skin. So include plenty of raw fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C to gain those benefits unless you may need to consider taking a Vitamin C supplement. In that case, Wellbeing Nutrition's Daily Greens is perfect for you!
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- Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention, Sebastian J Padayatty, Arie Katz, Yaohui Wang, Peter Eck, Oran Kwon, Je-Hyuk Lee, Shenglin Chen, Christopher Corpe, Anand Dutta, Sudhir K Dutta, Mark Levine, Journal of The American College of Nutrition, 2003, doi: 10.1080/07315724.2003.10719272. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12569111/)
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- Vitamin C and Neutrophil Function: Findings from Randomized Controlled Trials, Mikee Liugan and Anitra C. Carr, Nutrients Journal, 2019, doi: 10.3390/nu11092102, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770220/)
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- Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review, Nikolaj Travica, Karin Ried, Avni Sali, Andrew Scholey, Irene Hudson, and Andrew Pipingas, Nutrients Journal, 2017, doi: 10.3390/nu9090960, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622720/)