Benefits of Taking Vitamin C Daily
Vitamin C – or ascorbic acid – is an essential, water-soluble nutrient and a powerful antioxidant with a wide range of functions. It cannot be stored or synthesized in the human body and must be consumed daily from fresh fruits and vegetables.
How Vitamin C Works
Vitamin C is a cofactor in various enzymatic reactions in the body needed for the synthesis of:
● Collagen – an abundant structural protein found in skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels
● Stress hormones
● Immune cells
The antioxidant properties of vitamin C allow it to scavenge unstable free radical molecules in the body, protecting your cells from oxidative damage. This is significant because low antioxidant levels result in cell damage, chronic inflammation, and eventually chronic disease.
Best Vitamin C Foods
Some of the best food sources of vitamin C are:
● Citrus fruits
● Leafy greens
● Bell peppers
● Sweet potatoes
Many people struggle to get their five-a-day, and cooking methods deplete vitamin C levels in food. So, a dietary supplement is a fantastic way to increase vitamin C intake and optimize wellbeing.
Risk Factors for Vitamin C Deficiency
While acute vitamin C-deficiency, or Scurvy, isn't common in developed countries, many people still struggle with low levels. Poor immunity, fatigue, anemia, bruising, and slow wound healing are all red flags for chronically low vitamin C and a sign that you need to up your intake!
Some of the factors that deplete vitamin C levels include:
● Excessive sun exposure
● Intense exercise
● Poor diet
● Chronic illness
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Immunity. Vitamin C helps you to fight off infections and reduces illness duration. It's involved in the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and protects immune cells from being degraded by unstable free radicals.
A study on men with low vitamin C status found supplementing with vitamin C resulted in fewer colds and a 59% reduction in cold duration compared to a placebo group.
Improved Iron Absorption. Vitamin C may reduce fatigue by enhancing iron absorption, making it a useful nutrient for people with anemia and those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. It transforms the poorly absorbed ferric form (from plant sources) into the ferrous form that is easily absorbed by mucosal cells in the GI tract.
Healthy Skin. Vitamin C is found abundantly in skin cells where it promotes strong, elastic, and glowing skin. It protects the skin from free radical damage and signs of premature aging.
It's a cofactor in the synthesis and maintenance of collagen – the skin's structural protein. Without sufficient vitamin C, collagen strands become weak, resulting in loss of skin elasticity, firmness, and hydration. Studies have also shown it also speeds up wound healing, and reduces damage from sun exposure.
Cardiovascular Health. Research suggests the antioxidant properties of vitamin C protect the cardiovascular system and may reduce the risk of the world's number one killer, heart disease.
Maintaining healthy vitamin C levels prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and lowers cholesterol levels, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and inflammation − all major risk factors for heart disease.