Vitamin C needs no introduction; it is a nutrient widely used both in food products and in external applications. It is abundant in citrus fruits and ubiquitous in most juices and packaged products like soups, sauces, and precooked foods. Vitamin C is often used in external applications like face serum, skincare lotions, and anti-aging remedies. The benefits and uses of this versatile micronutrient extend beyond just skincare and food fortification. Here is a detailed look at vitamin C and how it benefits you.
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient because your body cannot make its own vitamin C or store it. For this reason, it is vital to receive this nutrient from your food every day. Although found in abundance in nature, many factors influence the amount of vitamin C you can get from food.
You’ll be surprised at the many ways you can lose this nutrient because of food handling and preparation. For instance, vitamin C can be destroyed by exposure to heat and light. Likewise, prolonged cooking times break down vitamin C in vegetables and reduce the availability of this nutrient. Another important factor is its water-soluble property. Because it is water-soluble, it easily seeps into cooking liquid, and it may be lost if the fluids are not consumed. Nutritionists suggest eating raw fruits at peak ripeness to get enough vitamin C. Another way is to use quick heating methods, blanching, stir-frying, and using as little water as possible to cook vegetables to preserve vitamin C.
Vitamin C deficiency is uncommon in the United States; however, it is possible to be consuming suboptimal levels from your diet. This holds true if your menu is meager in fruits and vegetables. It is recommended to regularly consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get an optimal amount of vitamin C from the diet.
How vitamin C helps the body?
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in wound healing and preventing infections. It is a powerful antioxidant and helps make several hormones and chemical messengers used in the brain and nerves. Vitamin C is essential to absorb non-heme iron, which is present in plant foods like leafy greens. This water-soluble nutrient supports normal growth, development, and maintenance of cells and tissues. Besides, it has numerous critical functions in the body to keep you healthy. Here are some key benefits of vitamin C.
Health benefits of vitamin C
Antioxidant power: Your body needs powerful antioxidants to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases and conditions. Vitamin C is one such powerful antioxidant that combats free radical damage and lowers inflammation. Research reveals that vitamin C is an essential antioxidant in the body’s day-to-day functions and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamin E.
Improves skin health: Vitamin C is a crucial component of skin tissue; it maintains the integrity of cells. As a nutrient that regulates collagen production, it is known for its ability to prevent premature aging of the skin. Studies show that taking vitamin C-rich foods along with a nutritious diet to be associated with improved skin health, minimized wrinkles, and reduced sun damage to the skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C may also help prevent and treat photodamage caused by the UV rays. Studies also show that diets high in vitamin C to be correlated with a decreased level of dry skin and lower trans-epidermal water loss. High levels of trans-epidermal water loss are linked to increased wrinkles and fine lines.
Aids iron absorption & prevents anemia: Studies show that taking 100 mg of vitamin C along with iron-rich foods helps increase iron absorption by 67%. Vitamin C plays a vital role in facilitating iron absorption from plant foods by converting the non-heme iron into a better absorbable form. Due to this reason, healthcare providers include vitamin C supplements as part of the protocol for treating iron deficiency anemia.
Immune-booster: One of the most prominent benefits of vitamin C is its ability to boost immunity. Vitamin -C rich foods have long been associated with prevention and reducing the duration of the cold. Vitamin C may be effective in preventing and treating upper respiratory tract infections. Researchers believe the primary role of vitamin C is its antioxidant function, which helps protect host cells against oxidative stress caused by infections. Vitamin C is found to be in high concentrations in phagocyte and lymphocyte immune cells, indicating they may have a crucial role in these immune cells. Also, in various experimental settings, researchers found that vitamin C increased the functioning of phagocytes, the proliferation of T-cells, and decreased the replication of viruses.
Aids joint health: A recent 2019 study found that vitamin C may help to reduce the knee’s arthritic symptoms and could be beneficial for people with early osteoarthritis. Since vitamin C is critical for preventing inflammation in joints and maintaining healthy joints, it may prove to be an effective remedy for people with joint issues.
Good for your heart: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that promotes the healthy lining of blood vessels and aids heart function. Studies show that vitamin C reduces the risk of heart diseases by lowering blood pressure, reducing triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. A review of 13 studies found that supplementing 300 mg of vitamin C daily reduced the levels of LDL and triglycerides significantly. A similar study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that a higher intake of vitamin C was associated with a lower risk of death from stroke or heart disease in people aged 65 and over.
Reduces the risk of gout: Vitamin C’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefit people with gout, a type of arthritis characterized by swollen and stiff joints. A study that followed 47,000 men over 20 years revealed that a higher vitamin C intake was associated with a lower risk of developing gout. Researchers noted a similar finding in a 2011 review of studies that reported vitamin C supplementation lowered the uric acid in the blood. The results were significant because higher vitamin C meant reduced gout flare-ups and decreased the incidence of gout recurrence among patients.
The above benefits clearly indicate the importance of vitamin C for human health. Given its ability to boost immune function and reduce chronic diseases, it seems logical to increase vitamin C-rich foods through various sources, including fresh foods and dietary supplements. When choosing vitamin C supplements, it is crucial to go for formulations that offer effective and safe forms of vitamin C. Check out these recommendations for high-quality vitamin C supplements.
Liposomal Vitamin C by Dr. Mercola: This soy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free vitamin C supplement delivers 1000 mg of vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes. Liposomes are nano-sized particles that mimic the body’s cell membrane and are designed to protect the vitamin C as it travels through the body. Studies show that vitamin C in liposomal encapsulation delivers more vitamin C than conventional vitamin C supplements. This form of vitamin C supplement ensures better bioavailability of the nutrient and protects against occasional intestinal discomfort.
Liposomal Vitamin C liquid by Pure Encapsulations: If you are looking for a gluten-free, hypoallergenic, and non-GMO vitamin C supplement in a liquid form, Pure Encapsulations formulation is for you. The recommended dosage is to take 5 ml (approximately one teaspoon a day), and it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C liquid offers the antioxidant vitamin C in an enhanced-absorption liposomal form to target cellular health and function, as well as immune defense. This liposomal liquid delivery system utilizes phospholipids from non-GMO sunflower oil and tight manufacturing control to ensure vitamin C encapsulation for optimal performance. The controlled processing procedure results in very small, higher-stable, spherical liposomes. These small-sized liposomes allow for increased diffusion across mucus membranes and better vitamin C absorption by the body.
Ascorbic acid capsules by Pure Encapsulations: This dietary supplement provides 1000 mg of vitamin C as ascorbic acid in a vegetarian capsule. The formulation is gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and vegetarian. The suggested dosage is one capsule, one to four times a day, along with meals.
C-1000 by Douglas Laboratories: The formulation offers 1000 mg of vitamin C as ascorbic acid. Most vitamin C is sourced from genetically modified corn which is not preferred by those with sensitivity to corn. Douglas Laboratories C-1000 provides ascorbic acid that is 100% corn-free. The suggested dosage is to take one capsule daily or as directed by your physician.
There is no doubt that vitamin C plays a pivotal role in disease prevention and improving overall health. There is enough scientific evidence that attests to its antioxidant, collagen-building, and skin-improving effects. The daily recommended amount for vitamin C is 65 – 90 milligrams per day. Although taking too much vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, researchers have determined 2000 mg to be the safe upper limit for this nutrient.