Vitamin C: All You Need To Know About It!
Immune-suppressing properties, antioxidant activity, and a role in collagen synthesis are just a few of the many health advantages of vitamin C. It is also well acknowledged for its potential importance in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a number of medical conditions. In this in-depth blog post, we will cover all you need to know about vitamin C, including its origins, functions, benefits, suggested daily dose, potential adverse effects, and much more. So, let us delve into the intriguing world of vitamin C and discover its numerous health benefits!
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential water-soluble vitamin that has received a great deal of attention, for all the right reasons. It is known as an immune-boosting supernutrient. But apart from being an immunity booster, it also plays several other vital roles in our body.
Daily Recommended Dosage
Adults above the age of 19 - men - 90mg
Adults above the age of 19 - women - 75mg
Vitamin C Overdose
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, so any excess vitamin C will be flushed out of your body. Hence, it is very unlikely that you will overdose on vitamin C. An extremely high dosage of vitamin C can cause typical symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
Role 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 diseases 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 people with osteoarthritis.
Vitamin C also helps the body absorb non-heme iron, which is iron sourced from plant foods such as beans, lentils, watermelon, spinach, etc.
Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency
A deficiency in vitamin C can have various negative impacts on health. Here are some common signs of vitamin C deficiency:
1. Weak immune system:
Vitamin C is known for its immunity-boosting qualities since it promotes the creation and activity of immune cells. A vitamin C shortage can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections, colds, and other ailments.
2. Fatigue and weakness:
Vitamin C aids in the formation of carnitine, which is required for fat metabolism to produce energy. Vitamin C deficiency can cause weariness, weakness, and a general lack of vitality.
3. Delayed wound healing:
Vitamin C is required for the production of collagen, which is a vital component of connective tissue and plays an important role in wound healing. A vitamin C deficit can cause delayed wound healing, poor scar formation, and decreased tissue restoration.
4. Bleeding gums and oral health issues:
Vitamin C helps keep gums and teeth healthy. A lack of vitamin C can cause bleeding gums, gum inflammation (gingivitis), and other oral problems.
5. Dry and rough skin:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radical damage. It aids in collagen formation, which is necessary for maintaining skin health. A lack of vitamin C can cause dry, rough, and damaged skin.
6. Joint pain and swelling:
Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen, which is essential for the health of joints and cartilage. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
7. Mood changes:
Vitamin C is involved in the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which are important for regulating mood. A deficiency in vitamin C can contribute to mood changes, including irritability, depression, and anxiety.
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
1. Powerful Antioxidant:
Free radicals are produced in our body during energy generation. Other factors like toxic chemicals, UV rays, pollutants like cigarette smoke, etc, also contribute to the formation of free radicals. The accumulation of free radicals can contribute to the development of many health conditions such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, etc. Vitamin C is one of those micronutrients that also serves as an antioxidant, protecting us against the damage caused by free radicals.
2. 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 the production of white blood cells (fighter cells), which help protect the body against harmful pathogens. 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 caused by free radicals. Vitamin C may also boost the fatty membranes in the skin and connective tissue, strengthening the skin’s barriers. Studies have also shown that taking vitamin C supplements may shorten wound healing time and accelerate recovery. Vitamin C and zinc form the best duo for better immunity. Both support the development and efficiency of your immune system, thus keeping frequent colds and coughs at bay.
3. Promotes Healthy Skin:
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower risk of skin aging symptoms such as wrinkles, skin dryness, etc.
4. 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 colds can reduce the course of the illness by 8% in adults and 14% in children. Participants in each study were supplemented with a daily dose of at least 200 mg of vitamin C for varying periods. A 2019 report on 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.
5. 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 a 42% lower stroke risk than those with the lowest concentrations of vitamin C.
6. Lowers 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.
7. 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 and iron-rich plant foods in the same meal. Such as adding lemon juice to pulses and lentil gravy, making a salad dressing with lemon juice in it, etc.
8. 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 our 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, lemons, limes, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, green chili, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, turnip greens, beet greens, spinach, etc. contain vitamin C. Therefore, eating various vitamin-C-rich fruits and vegetables can go a long way in supporting optimal health and wellness.
Vitamin C Supplements
Do you know how many oranges you need to eat to get the right amount of vitamin C your body needs? Men over the age of 19 need about 90 mg of vitamin C a day, compared to 75mg for women. So how much mg of vitamin C does an orange provide you with? Figuring that out is difficult. Moreover, to absorb nutrition from food, your body has to spend energy processing it. With nutrition supplements, vitamin C is readily available for your body to absorb and is available in a precise dosage. Besides, you can get a combination of more vitamins and minerals in one dosage. It is clearly a win-win for you if you support your daily nutrition with a good diet and supplements.
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunity-boosting properties and many health benefits. It supports wound healing and collagen formation, boosts immunity, delays signs of aging, and promotes healthy skin. So make sure you get your daily dose of vitamin C via fruits and vegetables or natural supplements.
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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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