Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the biologically active form of L-ascorbic acid, also known simply as ascorbate. It is a water-soluble vitamin that plays crucial roles in various physiological processes in the body. It is classed as an essential nutrient, meaning that the body cannot produce it on its own, so it must be obtained through diet or supplementation.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is well-known for its role in supporting the immune system, promoting the absorption of iron, and acting as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Immune system benefits are only one effect of regularly taking Vitamin C, whether in supplement form or through diet. Studies have confirmed that vitamin C can be useful in; healing wounds, collagen synthesis, the maintenance of healthy skin, bones and teeth, reducing cataracts, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and numerous other benefits.

Below we will explore some of these health benefits in more detail:

Vitamin C for Fighting Colds and Flu

Throughout the cold and flu season, which is usually in the winter as this is when these viruses best thrive, vitamin C is the single best way to avoid the common cold or even a bout of flu. Scientific studies back up Vitamin C as a way to dramatically improve the immune system and stave off major illness.

Vitamin C is the world’s most popular vitamin in terms of deliberate consumption, in the form of multivitamins of Vitamin C supplements, as well as in terms of “incidental” consumption through foods and beverages. This is no surprise. For decades, Vitamin C has been marketed as an ailment for common colds and other seasonal illnesses, shown to consumers as a way to boost their immune systems.

These claims are based on several studies, all of which show that regular intake of Vitamin C can help the body more effectively defend itself against common pathogens. Notably, taking a Vitamin C supplement generally does not prevent disease. Instead, it’s shown to dramatically shorten how long someone suffers from a cold, the flu or other ailments, before the body is fully recovered and symptom free.

As well as boosting the immune system, there’s a long list of benefits that come from using vitamin C as a regular health supplement.

Vitamin C Helps Wounds Heal Faster

Vitamin C causes the body to produce collagen at a faster rate, which can benefit the healing process. Collagen itself is incredibly important when staving off infection and healing scrapes, cuts, or even broken bones. Those with a steady source of Vitamin C will find that they heal more quickly and experience less pain from even the most common injuries than those who do not regularly consume the substance.

Anti-Aging Effects of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is often considered beneficial for anti-aging due to its involvement in collagen synthesis, antioxidant properties and the ability to address issues like hyperpigmentation. It promotes skin elasticity, helps neutralize free radicals, reduces the appearance of dark spots and provides photoprotection against UV damage.

Vitamin C can be incorporated into skincare through topical formulations and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin C for Cataract Prevention

In addition to promoting better immune system responses and elevating collagen levels, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can have a big impact on vision. Because of these antioxidant properties, regular intake of Vitamin C has been shown to prevent the onset of cataracts in those people prone to developing them later in life.

The presence of more Vitamin C works to counteract the “free radicals” that cause clouding in the eye, which can reduce or prolong the need for cataract removal surgery in the future.

Vitamin C for Blood Pressure & Cholesterol

Two of the most common health concerns as people age are their blood pressure and their overall cholesterol level, each of which can show a risk for heart disease and other serious health risks over time.

In several studies, those patients who regularly consumed the recommended amount of Vitamin C each day were more likely to reduce their cholesterol level over time. Furthermore, the vitamin has been associated with a gradual drop in blood pressure levels for those patients that have chronically elevated blood pressure.

Vitamin C for Diabetes

Vitamin C has been shown to have a dramatic impact on those suffering from Diabetes. First and foremost, it helps the body regulate and maintain consistent blood sugar levels throughout the day. As any diabetic knows, that’s already a really big benefit.

The second major improvement offered by Vitamin C to diabetes sufferers is its ability to promote the synthesis of sugars and other materials by cells. This can eliminate blood sugar spikes and drops, making it easier to control sugar intake and appetite throughout the day.

Vitamin C Works Well with Zinc

Vitamin C and Zinc work synergistically to support immune function, antioxidant activity and wound healing. Vitamin C enhances immune cell function and acts as an antioxidant, while zinc is crucial for immune cell development and has its own antioxidant properties. Together, they may contribute to the prevention and treatment of common colds.

How to Take Vitamin C

There are generally several ways to add Vitamin C to an existing diet. The most popular is simply to eat a diet rich in it. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits eg. oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries, kiwi, red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach and kale, to name a few of the foods most concentrated with Vitamin C.

Another option is to take a robust multivitamin, which incorporates the vitamin alongside other key nutrients. For those with a distinct deficiency only in this particular vitamin, a Vitamin C specific supplement can be purchased.

Ester C is a non-acidic version of Vitamin C which some people find easier to digest.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Vitamin C Notes / Side Effects

Excessive intake of Vitamin C can act as a laxative due to its osmotic effect in the intestines. The unabsorbed vitamin C draws water into the intestines, softening the stool and leading to increased bowel movements. This can cause symptoms like diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

This effect can be felt both from vitamin C supplements, and from consuming lots of vitamin C rich food, especially citrus fruits.

Individual sensitivity varies, and regular high-dose supplementation may lead to adaptation over time. It’s important to adhere to recommended dietary allowances if considering vitamin C supplementation, to avoid these adverse digestive effects.

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