Vitamin C is good for you because it plays a key role in the synthesis of collagen. It also helps maintain pH balance on the skin. It has been shown to have antioxidant properties which can help protect against harmful free radicals.
It is also beneficial for people who lack dietary vitamin A or saturated fat because it helps enhance iron absorption from the diet. However, as a water-soluble pigment in all animals including humans, it does not accumulate within our cells or tissues.
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps build and maintain strong teeth and healthy gums, protects against scrapes and scratches, forms healthy bones, cartilage, muscle tissue, and blood vessels. Vitamin C may have some benefits in helping the immune system fight off illness (including fighting common viral infections like colds), because of this it’s often recommended to drink plenty of fluids when you’re feeling ill.
There are also some studies indicating that people following medical advice to get large doses of vitamin C everyday show significant improvement in symptoms related to chronic bronchitis
Vitamin C provides nutritive support for the immune system by producing a number of important factors like antibodies and enzymes. It is the cofactor boosting enzyme that synthesizes collagen, neurotransmitters, and carnitine from amino acids to make energy.
It is also responsible for phosphorus absorption and synthesis in bowel cells called enterocytes. This protein has an important role in oxygen transportation with hemoglobin synthesis. Further benefits are as an excellent antioxidant, strengthening skin health, promoting healthy bones, optimal blood clotting, and wound healing. Vitamin C is essential for urea production which eliminates toxic metabolic by-products. It unsticks scar tissue preventing adhesions (sticky tissues) from developing at surgical sites and assists detoxification.
Food sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for human health. In fact, a deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to many diseases, including scurvy and poor immune function. Fruit is the best food source of vitamin C, with oranges being the richest source followed by grapefruits and strawberries. Other foods high in vitamin C include papaya, pineapple, broccoli, kale and sweet peppers. One should aim for about 5-7 servings from this list each day to ensure adequate intake.
Each nutrient has its own set of health benefits and consequences for the body so it is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter which diet or foods you choose.
It’s true that deficiency can result in premature aging but too much vitamin C can also have detrimental effects on your health such as disrupted iron absorption. That being said deficiency is rare in the United States due to the predominantly fruit and vegetable-laden cuisine but it is worth mentioning that there are exceptions such as those who avoid these types of food or who are on a raw food diet (raw food contains less natural sources of vitamin C).
Why we need vitamin C:
We need vitamin C because it is a major eye health nutrient. Vitamin C assists with both the production of collagen in our body which is great for keeping skin plump and youthful and assists with normal vision, bone growth, and protection against cell damage due to free radicals. It also helps convert iron into its usable form so that it may be used by our body’s cells as they require this mineral for energy production or other cellular processes.
Our kidneys require vitamin C concentrations many times higher than the levels needed to prevent scurvy in order to process waste products normally excreted from the body so if we don’t get enough of this antioxidant some of these wastes will build up over time clogging vital pathways and causing us illness or injury.
Vitamin C is a necessary nutrient in large amounts (not to be confused with portion size).
It’s easy to remember that humans are one of the few mammals who do not have oral or esophageal protection against stomach acid. A recent article in Science Daily explains that “a dramatic natural experiment can also show why vitamin C is needed by all mammals, even though we cannot synthesize it.” It turns out, that about 12 million years ago a common ancestor of primates and rodents lost the ability to make vitamin C but was still able to produce it on their fur. They actually had patches of specialized epithelial cells just below the hair follicles where they produced “fur keratin” which included protective antioxidants called ascorbate.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in promoting immune system function and in the development of healthy functioning nervous tissues, skin, teeth, bones, and cartilage. Low levels of Vitamin C have been associated with decreased strength for resistance training or traumatic injury recovery.
Vitamin C deficiencies have also been shown to promote premature aging and wrinkling as well as poor bone healing ability. The recommended daily allowance for adults is somewhere between 75 to 175 milligrams per day depending on age and gender. However, it is not uncommon for those supplementing with Vitamin C to take up to 2-5 grams per day which can lead to elevated blood levels of iron which might be clinically relevant when other risk factors are present.
Vitamin C may reduce your risk of chronic disease.
Chronic disease is an issue that persists over a long period of time. Chronic disease may be either present or undiagnosed.
“The term chronic usually refers to something that has persisted for a long time, 8 months to 10 years. If a person has had high blood pressure for 10 years, their blood pressure is regarded as chronic.” Chronic diseases are not necessarily life-threatening but they can often impact the quality of life substantially. Examples include asthma and arthritis.
Furthermore, chronic diseases are prolonged or continuous illnesses that can be difficult, costly, and sometimes even life-threatening to manage.
There’s a relatively new understanding of the underlying mechanisms of health and disease which explains this in large part by a “western diet” including too many omega 6s (unbalanced with 3s) causing inflammation. Chronic diseases are ailments like diabetes, obesity; Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma – all caused by poor food habits and lifestyle decisions.
Mi Kyung Kim and colleagues, 2003, evaluated the effects of consuming vitamin C supplements for a long time on blood concentration of vitamin C. They found out that taking vitamin C supplements for 5 years increased the blood concentration of vitamin C. This increases the body’s antioxidant levels. As a result of this, cells are protected from the harmful activities of free radicals, thereby reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Vitamin C may help reduce blood pressure:
Blood pressure is the amount of force your blood exerts against your artery walls, as it’s pumped through your body by the heart. Though most of the time when people talk about their “blood pressure”, they are talking informally about their systolic blood pressure, which peaks when your heart beats and falls down to its lowest point (diastasis) between two beats.
The goal for adults with high blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or less because evidence suggests that this lower reading improves overall health and reduces the risk for complications such as stroke or coronary artery disease.
When blood pressure is too high it puts a strain on the muscles and organs in your chest.
Your heart muscle has to work harder in these cases, which can eventually lead to an enlarged or weakened heart. This condition can burn more energy than usual and make you sweat excessively. If untreated, this can lead to the damage of other important organs like the kidneys and liver within 18 years. When untreated it also poses a serious risk for stroke or even death from a ruptured aneurysm artery.
R R Ettarh and colleagues, 2002, investigated the effect of vitamin C on blood pressure. They found out that vitamin C helped the blood vessels to relax resulting in low blood pressure.
Vitamin C may reduce your risk of heart disease:
Heart disease is a term that refers to any number of health conditions that affect the heart. It is a medical condition in which the heart muscle experiences an injury or illness, such as coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, or hypertension.
Heart disease most typically refers to coronary artery disease, which occurs when narrowed, hardened, and clogged arteries cause decreased blood flow into the heart. This stress on the organ may lead to angina (chest pain) or myocardial infarction–the rupture of an area in one of the large blood vessels in your heart (a clot blocking off a section of the artery). Other forms of heart disease include congestive heart failure.
Essentially, heart disease is when there’s either too much plaque buildup in your arteries that are feeding your heart and it restricts the flow of blood through your body.
I’m sure you’ve heard about high cholesterol as a risk factor for this type of condition because plaque formation starts with a layer of fat that needs to be broken down into smaller pieces before it can build up on the arterial walls. So people who have high cholesterol take drugs to reduce their circulating levels of cholesterol and harmfully obstruct the development of new plaques. These drugs lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein).
Clinical symptoms are chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, or fainting (syncope). These are the most common symptoms outside of attacks during waking hours, hence frequently missed or misdiagnosed as panic/anxiety disorders by doctors until much damage has already been done with possibly fatal consequences.
Paul Knekt and colleagues, 2004, studied the relationship between the consumption of antioxidant vitamins including vitamin C, and the risk of coronary heart disease. They found out that consumption of vitamin C supplements reduced the incidence of major coronary heart disease.
Vitamin C may help prevent gout:
Gout is an inflammatory response to elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, and it occurs when people are consuming more fructose than they should.
Gout usually presents itself with pain, swelling, and redness around the joint of attack (elbow, wrist, foot). The pain can often be extreme and attacks can happen at any time of night or day.
Besides being a risk factor for obesity – which increases uric acid production due to lower breakdown by enzymes before absorption – sugary drinks also increase inflammation reactions in the body that contribute to gout. Increased soda consumption also has been linked to higher blood pressure rates, which lead to heart disease.
Gout is a type of arthritis that will typically come in the form of a flare-up.
During this, there is usually acute onset and rapid progression of painful, monosymptomatic inflammatory arthritis accompanied by erythrocyte hyperuricemia. There may be a family history of gout or hypertension to rule out other connective tissue diseases. If left untreated, it can result in chronic tophaceous gouty arthritis.
Gout’s most distinctive symptom is an attack in which pain flares up from one joint for days or weeks at a time. Other symptoms include swelling, warmth, redness, and difficulty moving the particular joint involved. This acute gout has an effect on the body that spreads to different joints – usually, the big toe becomes inflamed because it contains uric acid crystals, usually when there are too many of them as well as some other water-soluble contaminants. Then these form into hard balls called tophi which can break through layers of tissue (namely skin) so that they have one visible surface area.
Recent studies have shown that regular intake of vitamin C reduces blood levels of uric acid thereby lowering the risk of gout.
Vitamin C helps prevent iron deficiency:
Iron deficiency is a condition where there is not enough iron in the bloodstream to give oxygen to the body’s cells, ultimately causing muscle malfunction and fatigue. Symptoms of Iron Deficiency include extreme fatigue or lethargy; feeling chilly or overheated all the time; breathlessness or rapid breathing during exertion.
A deficiency in iron can cause anemia (low levels of red blood cells) which leads to excessive tiredness and a lowered ability to concentrate. The symptoms are often misdiagnosed as something else such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, bark allergies, etc. One needs more than 1mg/day for adults not pregnant or breastfeeding and 10-18 mg/day while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Iron deficiency usually falls into three categories; anemia, without iron deficiency anemia, and without anemia. Iron is a mineral that the body needs to create red blood cells in order to carry oxygen throughout our bodies and deliver it to where it’s needed. So lack of iron means a lack of oxygen-carrying capacity which can lead to impaired functioning of several parts of the body – some you might not even know about!
If your hemoglobin levels are too low due to chronic blood loss or as a result of scarlet fever, influenza, or other diseases, then you will become iron deficient – regardless of whether your blood test shows other signs or symptoms (such as fatigue).
The most common cause of iron deficiency is the inability of an individual to absorb the form of iron that they have ingested. This can be due to multiple reasons, including a defective gastrointestinal tract (such as from celiac disease or Crohn’s), gastrointestinal blood loss (such as from ulcers), or malabsorption syndromes such as those seen with cystic fibrosis.
Iron deficiency is one of the chief causes among children and young women for low levels of hemoglobin and other measures that indicate anemia. Iron helps produce red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body – without enough iron, there are not enough erythrocytes being produced; thus, not enough oxygen is getting to all tissues needed for proper function.
Many recent studies have shown that regular consumption of vitamin C improves iron absorption thereby helping reduce the risk of anemia in people who are prone to iron deficiency.
Vitamin C boosts your immunity:
Immunity is a natural process, which helps your body fight against infection and disease.
A single organ in the immune system is called the “lymphatic system” or “immune system”. The bone marrow, liver, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes, and thymus are all part of this lymphatic system that plays an important role in immunity. The job of this organ system is to detect foreign organisms such as bacteria or viruses and destroy them. Normally these infectious agents would cause injury caused by cell death and destruction. Immune cells can alert other cells through chemical messages about when to release specific chemicals or substances as well as how much is needed.
Immunity is an adaptive immune response – a healthy person has antibodies that are specific to particular invaders. The body produces various types of cells and chemicals that attack invasive microbes and other antigens, as well as activate other parts of the immune system to help eliminate the threat. In this way, immunity includes both its passive arm (leading to temporary or long-term protection after exposure) and its active arm (stopping infection in those who come into contact with a harmful substance).
Basically, there are two types of immunity, one passively granted by having either infectious or non-infectious diseases in the past via things like vaccinations, and the other conferred during an active immune response triggered by invasion through pathogen-associated molecular patterns, also known as PAMPs. The latter is achieved with toll-like receptors (TLRs) that detect various molecules present on pathogens and initiate activation of both innate as well as adaptive arms of the immune system.
Scientific studies have shown that supplementary arginine, vitamin C, and zinc significantly improved the healing of ulcers.
Vitamin C lowers your risk of dementia:
Dementia is a loss of mental abilities, which can range from memory problems to difficulty in communicating and socializing.
This can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form), hepatitis or other viruses, drugs, severe head injury, stomach ulcers that are bleeding, or other digestive tract disorders or substances like alcohol. Alcoholism is another well-known cause of dementia because it leads to shrinking and damage in the brain cells which are critical for thinking. This causes problems with memory both short-term and long-term as well as trouble carrying out tasks. The results can be seen within days after stopping drinking. Although there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, some medicines have shown promise in slowing its progression.
The word dementia can refer to a specific disorder that causes memory, language, and/or certain intellectual skills (such as judgment) to become impaired. In this sense of the word, it can be caused by alcohol abuse or organic diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, but more commonly is due to organic brain disorders such as vasculitis.
Diabetes can also cause dementia. Dementia is diagnosed by changes in social functioning rather than cognitive function alone. Dementia may be related to reduced activity in the hippocampus and other areas of the brain involved with memory formation and stabilizing long-term memories. It includes lost interest in activities previously enjoyed along with problems remembering recent events or conversations and forgetting how people usually act.
Dementia is one of the most common causes of mental impairment later in life and is a neurological condition that affects memory, thinking, language, communication, behavior, emotional well-being.
Dementia is often caused by cerebral vascular accidents and Alzheimer’s disease but may also be due to other causes such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease.
It usually develops gradually over several years. It can also occur suddenly (developing over fewer weeks) after an illness more serious than flu for example. When dementia develops quickly it is designated as “acute MCI dementia syndrome” while with gradual appearing symptoms it will be said that the person suffers from “chronic MCI dementia syndrome”.
Regular intake of dietary vitamin C or vitamin C supplements has been shown to improve thinking and memory as people become older. Recent studies have shown that people with dementia have low blood levels of vitamin C.
Although most side effects are mild and don’t need medical attention. Some people might notice a laxative effect as vitamin C clears out the intestines and this can be unpleasant. Higher doses may interfere with some medicines like nitrates or levodopa.
Large doses of calcium can bind to the vitamin C in your stomach before it gets absorbed by your body so large servings of an iron supplement should be taken more than two hours before you take any vitamin C (or after) because the iron will then absorb easily into your bloodstream without interference from other substances.
Moreover, excess intake of vitamin C can lead to diarrhea, stomach cramping, and gas.