Your body cannot make vitamin C, which is water soluble and found in fruits and vegetables, from kiwi to kale. However, vitamin C is linked to many health benefits and fulfills many roles in the body that you may find extraordinary.
1. It helps build collagen
Collagen makes your skin look youthful, but it is literally the infrastructure of your skin. Collagen is a protein that is found directly under your epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and contains a high concentration of vitamin C. Without vitamin C, your body cannot make collagen.
The work of this vitamin plays several roles in relation to collagen: it is like a glue that holds everything together. Vitamin C plays a role in both creation and synthesis of collagen. If you are suffering from vitamin C deficiency, you may notice corkscrew hairs, skin discoloration, impaired wound healing, and bleeding gums.
2. It acts as an anti-aging agent
Topical application of products containing vitamin C may help improve the radiance of your skin, leading to less roughness, reduced wrinkles, and increased collagen, according to two observational studies reviewed by Oregon State University. However, the researchers also note that topical vitamin C had no effect on those who had a high intake of vitamin C in their diet.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C provides protection against free radicals and benefits your skin by preventing oxidative damage.
3. It stimulates bone mineralization
Remember the importance of vitamin C in the production of collagen? Well, collagen is also part of what makes your bone able to resist fractures and maintain flexibility.
Many people know that a vitamin C deficiency can put you at risk for scurvy, but one of the common symptoms is bone pain. See the link? Do not hesitate to drink a glass of orange juice with your cereal in the morning.
A 2020 study published in Nutrients found that vitamin C can play a role in preventing osteoporosis because it could reduce oxidative stress (resulting from bone resorption and free radicals). Not only does it keep your bones dense, but vitamin C helps in bone building.
4. It might help manage blood pressure
A meta-analysis of 29 human studies found that supplementation vitamin C decreases systolic blood pressure by 3.8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure of 1.5 mmHg in healthy adults. For people with high blood pressure, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 4.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 mmHg.
These promising results do not indicate a long-term benefit but rather a short-term effect, as further studies are needed. However, the researchers noted that vitamin C could help individuals better manage their blood pressure.
5. It’s neuroprotective
Did you know that inflammation and oxidative stress near the nervous system can contribute to the risk of dementia? Researchers have found that vitamin C offers a neuroprotective effect in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. At higher concentrations, vitamin C plays a pro-oxidant role.
A systematic review of 50 studies conducted by researchers found a link between low in vitamin C and people with cognitive impairment. Taking a vitamin C supplement or increasing your vitamin C intake can have a protective effect on memory and thinking as you get older.
6. It can improve iron absorption
WHO estimates that one third of women of childbearing age suffer from anemia, but it is a condition which also affects men and children. More than 40% of children under five suffer from anemia, reports the WHO.
As a nutrient, iron supports several vital functions: moving oxygen around the body and forming red blood cells. Vitamin C can improve iron absorption from your diet, especially if it is poorly absorbed from a plant-based diet. Adding 100 mg of vitamin C to your diet can improve iron absorption by 67%.
7. It could reduce the risk of chronic disease
As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect the body harmful free radicals that contribute to oxidative stress; linked to an increased risk of chronic disease.
Oxidative stress occurs when there is a precarious situation imbalance between antioxidant and oxidant levels in the body. In the long run, it can damage cells and organs in the body.
How much vitamin C should I take?
According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the recommended daily levels of vitamin C for adults 19 years of age and older, 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. Pregnant or breastfeeding women will need at least 85 mg. Smokers should consume an additional 35 mg of vitamin C, as smoking can deplete vitamin C. Exceeding 1000 mg of vitamin C can reduce absorption by up to 50%.
What are some good sources of vitamin C?
The Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health also recommends getting your vitamin C naturally from fruits and vegetables as they are. the best sources for this vitamin. Include more citrus fruits in your diet, such as kiwi, grapefruit, oranges, and lemons. White potatoes and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, are also good sources of vitamin C.