Top 10 Benefits of Taking Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble micronutrient that has a treasure trove of roles when it comes to optimal bodily function for overall health and well-being. Our body (and mind) requires vitamin C for a number of processes, and we also need it for disease prevention. From fighting the common cold, to healing the body from more serious diseases and preventing chronic diseases from ever taking hold in the first place, vitamin C supplementation is an essential part of living a long, healthy life.
In this article, we’re going to explore 17 ways vitamin C supplementation enhances our lives and keeps us strong and healthy.
Vitamin C strengthens your immune system
This 2017 study, published in the journal Nutrients, explains how vitamin C plays an integral role in immune defense, largely by promoting a myriad of cellular functions involved in immune function. One of these functions has to do with our infection-fighting white blood cells. A 2014 study, this one published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, explains further how vitamin C helps the body make these beneficial white blood cells, also known as lymphocytes and phagocytes.
Vitamin C for chronic disease prevention
When it comes to disease, it’s the antioxidant power that vitamin C holds which makes it a general panacea for just about anything and everything. Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals. When too many free radicals are floating around, oxidative stress puts major strain on the cells. Over time, this oxidative stress can lead to chronic diseases.
Vitamin C for blood pressure
According to the CDC, as stated here, high blood pressure, or hypertension impacts approximately one-third of Americans. Lucky for us, taking a high-quality vitamin C supplement can help us lower high blood pressure. A 2012 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that higher levels of vitamin C concentration in the blood were linked to decreased blood pressure levels. This is important, given the fact that high blood pressure is a precursor to heart disease, which is the #1 fatal chronic disease of modern day.
Vitamin C for cognitive health
Your brain also needs adequate amounts of vitamin C. Many scientific studies suggest the importance of vitamin C for optimal cognitive health. Some even point to a link between vitamin C deficiency and dementia. This particular study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, explains how oxidative stress in the brain can lead to cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Others show how vitamin C protects the brain, supporting memory and clarity of thought.
Vitamin C prevents iron deficiency
Iron is a vital nutrient necessary for moving oxygen throughout the body. Deficiencies in iron can lead to some serious health issues. Vitamin C is part of the iron equation because it’s necessary for iron absorption. The two vital nutrients work together in this way. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, posits that by simply taking 100 mg of vitamin C each day, you’re upping your iron absorption by a whopping 67%. If you’re deficient in iron, taking a vitamin C supplement daily is a really good idea.
Vitamin C for gout
Gout is a painful condition characterized by intense pain and inflammation in the joints, especially the big toe. It’s a rare form of arthritis affecting about 4% of people worldwide. When someone has gout, he or she typically has too much uric acid moving about in their bloodstream. These high levels of uric acid, which are actually a form of waste, build up over time, causing the condition known as gout to take hold. The cool thing is, many studies have shown vitamin C to help reduce these uric acid levels, improving the painful symptoms of gout in the process.
Vitamin C for cardiovascular health
Vitamin C may very well be a healing nutrient when it comes to preventing heart disease. Many studies point to the fact that this magical vitamin helps widen blood vessels. As such, vitamin C may very well help prevent hypertension, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It’s also possible that vitamin C helps reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels as well.
Vitamin C for diabetes
Some studies point to vitamin C’s beneficial role in reducing symptoms associated with diabetes. Patients with severe diabetes often experience a deterioration of various organs. The kidneys, eyes, and nerves are parts of the body that experience various levels of deterioration in patients with severe diabetes. Eating a diet that’s ripe with vitamin C, and also supplementing with a high quality supplement may very well help improve the quality of life of diabetics.
Vitamin C for eye health
Many studies suggest that vitamin C improves eye issues, especially cataracts. This is important, given the fact that cataracts are the primary reason for vision loss in those of us over the age of 40. And if you want to prevent the onset of cataracts, taking vitamin C now may very well keep you from getting cataracts in the future.
Vitamin C lowers histamine levels
Our immune system makes histamine. But, when there’s too much of it, inflammation takes over. Studies such as this one, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, show that those who supplement with vitamin C naturally have lower histamine levels in their bloodstream.
Vitamin C for inflammation
As you may know, chronic inflammation is at the heart of most modern day degenerative disease processes. As such, we need to keep this kind of long-term inflammation at bay if we’re going to maintain optimal health with age. Lucky for us, vitamin C just so happens to combat inflammation. Studies like this one show how ascorbic acid (vitamin C) plays a crucial role in the prevention of these diseases of inflammation.
Vitamin C for collagen production
Collagen is necessary for so many reasons. And supplementing with vitamin C helps with collagen production. Collagen is known for its role in skin health, the structure and function of our connective tissues, and also for the health of our blood vessels. When we take adequate amounts of vitamin C, we promote the absorption of collagen into our system. And because we naturally produce less collagen with age, it’s important to supplement with vitamin C to maintain our youthful vigor as we get older.
Vitamin C for wound healing and infections
Because vitamin C is an essential nutrient, one that’s needed for collagen production, it stands to reason that vitamin C’s also necessary for the healing of wounds. In fact, this study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Oral Surgery, Oral medicine, Oral Pathology, and Oral Radiology, explores the subject further. It finds high doses of vitamin C (anywhere from 500 mg to 3,000 mg) significantly accelerates wound healing.
Vitamin C for skin health
I’m notorious for not putting sunscreen on my skin, much to my mother’s dismay. I do, however, take vitamin C supplements on a regular basis. Why? Because I know they benefit my skin in wonderful ways. Because vitamin C combats oxidative stress with its high antioxidant load that helps neutralize free radicals, it helps protect the skin from pollutants in the air, as well as UVA rays, thus decreasing sun damage in the process. Vitamin C also helps prevent wrinkling of the skin, as well as hyperpigmentation. Taking vitamin C supplements with your skin health in mind is a definite win-win.
Vitamin C for cancer treatment
It’s possible that high doses of vitamin C may be an effective cancer treatment. Because cancer forms when there’s too much oxidative stress on the cells, the antioxidant powers of vitamin C to reduce oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals makes it a potential candidate for an all-natural cancer treatment. Of course, more studies need to be done in the future, but the information we have thus far is hopeful, for sure.
Vitamin C for seasickness
Yet another potential benefit of vitamin C supplementation has to do with seasickness. I wish I’d known about this twenty years ago, when I studied for a semester at sea, with a very seasick roommate. She nearly flew home after 2 weeks of severe sea sickness, and could have used a good daily dose of vitamin C to calm her discomfort. This 2014 study, published in the Journal of Vestibular Research found that people who took a small dose of vitamin C had lower levels of seasickness than those who did not.
Vitamin C for tuberculosis
While this isn’t something most of us need to worry about anymore, it shows the powerful healing mechanisms of taking vitamin C in the form of a high-quality supplement. A 2013 study published in the journal Nature Communications explains the positive role vitamin C has in helping to treat tuberculosis.
Is it possible to take too much vitamin C?
Whenever we take our health into our own hands, via supplementation, we need to have the right information regarding dosage. And if you’re wondering whether it’s possible to take too much vitamin C in the form of a supplement, the answer is that it’s highly unlikely. If you aren’t a smoker, and don’t suffer malnutrition, I recommend not taking more than 1,000 mg a day. Smokers tend to need more vitamin C due to the heavier load of oxidative stress they carry when compared to non-smokers. But, if you eat a relatively healthy diet, and don’t smoke, taking 500-1,000 mg per day of vitamin C is a good bet. You’re probably not going to take more than this anyway, as you won’t want to spend the money on high amounts of any supplement.
How much vitamin C is best for you?
Whenever we take a supplement, it’s important to know the correct dosage. In some cases, that dosage differs from person to person. In most cases, it’s about the same. As far as vitamin C goes, the general recommendation is between 500 and 1,500 mg per day. You don’t have to be strict about it, but generally speaking, this is a good guideline to follow. If you’ve already fallen ill, you’ll want to take 1,000-1,500 mg. And of course, if you’re taking it intravenously, under the care of a professional, the amount will increase tenfold.
Recommended dosages also change with age. It goes without saying that a small child won’t be taking as much as their mother or father. Certain health conditions also dictate how much or how little you should take. For example, studies show that those of us who have an iron deficiency need more vitamin C because iron helps with the absorption of vitamin C into the body. This 2016 study, published in the medical journal Aging, explains further how iron and vitamin C need each other if they’re going to do the body good.
Choosing the best vitamin C supplement
When it comes to adding a high-quality vitamin C supplement to your all-natural medicine cabinet, there are a few things you should know. First off, you want to find one that contains ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid increases bioavailability, which simply means it helps your body absorb vitamin C. Then, there are mineral ascorbates, which typically include sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate. When your vitamin C supplement comes in these forms, it’s also a good bet. Last but not least, a vitamin C supplement can come in the form of ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids—also a positive thing. If you see any of the above words on the list of ingredients, you’re choosing wisely.
As you can see, the health benefits of vitamin C go on and on. It’s just so good for you on so many levels. Which is why I recommend supplementing your daily diet with a vitamin C supplement of the highest quality. At Applied Science Nutrition, we offer a seriously therapeutic-grade vitamin C supplement that will help you stay healthy and strong during these trying times. Taking “name it” is one of the simplest and smartest things you can do for your vitality and well-being. With only (name dosage) a day, you’ll upgrade your health, while giving your body a wise dose of all-natural preventative medicine.