Vitamin C has long been touted as a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The vitamin also plays a role in maintaining normal immune function and helping us absorb iron from our food.
Vitamin C is found naturally in foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cauliflower, and spinach. However, the body only absorbs half of what we consume. That means you should aim to get at least 90 mg daily.
It may seem like common sense, but taking vitamin C regularly can improve your overall health. Here are some reasons why you should consider supplementing your diet with vitamin C.
1. Boosts Immunity
One of the most important benefits of vitamin C is its ability to boost immunity. It’s essential for maintaining healthy white blood cells and fighting off infections. A deficiency causes symptoms similar to those seen in cold or flu sufferers including headaches, fever, chills, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and coughing.
2. Protects Against Cancer
Studies show that people who take vitamin C supplements have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancers. Specifically, they appear less likely to develop colon, prostate, breast, lung, stomach, brain, bladder, mouth, and esophageal cancers. There’s no conclusive evidence to suggest that drinking lots of orange juice support this link yet, but it makes sense considering vitamin C’s strong anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Prevents Heart Disease
A meta-analysis published in 2015 found that people who took 400 mg per day of supplemental vitamin C had significantly lower odds of suffering a cardiovascular event. According to the study, which included more than 200,000 participants, those who took in just 120 mg per day were almost 2 times more likely to suffer a cardiac incident compared to individuals who got no supplement.
4. Helps Maintain Strong Bones
Many studies suggest that vitamin C intake could help keep bones stronger and reduce bone fractures. In one 2016 animal study, researchers gave rats either a control diet or a diet supplemented with 1 gram of vitamin C every will help prevent these kinds of cancers. Instead, it seems that eating plenty of other vegetables and fruit along with regular exercise can help reduce this risk.
5. Improves Digestive Health
This vitamin aids digestion by strengthening the walls of the digestive tract. This could be particularly helpful if you experience any gastrointestinal issues including constipation, diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, or reflux. Research suggests that consuming more than 300 mg per day can actually cause bowel problems.
6. Prevents Skin Problems
Vitamin C is vital for building collagen, which keeps skin firm and elastic. As we age, our bodies lose collagen, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. Supplementation might help slow down this process and reverse signs of aging.
7. Promotes Good Vision
As we grow older, eye health tends to decline. Some research suggests that getting enough vitamin C could help preserve vision. One 2014 review concludes: “There is a significant reduction in visual impairment associated with increasing intakes of vitamin C rich diets.” The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends everyone between 18-50 years old consume 800mg daily.
8. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels increase your risk of heart disease. Getting adequate amounts of vitamin C could help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol while raising good (HDL) cholesterol. Consuming more than 100mg per day has been linked to lower LDL and higher HDL.
9. Supports Weight Loss
Supplementing with vitamin C may also aid weight loss efforts by supporting metabolism. A study published in 2003 found that obese women who consumed 900mg of supplemental vitamin C each day lost nearly 3 percent of their body weight over 12 weeks.
10. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammatory conditions like arthritis are painful, and can lead to joint damage. Taking vitamin C regularly could reduce pain and inflammation. In fact, some experts believe that antioxidants, including vitamin C, could play an important role in managing inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
11. Boosts Immune System Function
When we get sick, our natural response is to fight off infections and diseases. When we don’t eat properly, however, our immune system may not function optimally. Vitamin C could help boost immunity by helping our white blood cells destroy bacteria and viruses.
12. May Help Prevent Stroke
Strokes are caused by clots breaking away from damaged arteries and blockages in major vessels. These blocksage tend to form when plaque builds up within the artery walls due to high cholesterol or smoking. High doses of vitamin C have been shown to break down these hardened plaques and prevent them from forming. Studies suggest that eating fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C reduces your chances of stroke by 50%.
13. Helps Reduce Stress
Anxiety and stress are common symptoms of depression. Many people find it helpful to use supplements to manage these feelings. This could include taking a dose of 100 mg vitamin C every few hours for anxiety or 200 mg twice a day for acute stress. It’s best to talk to your doctor before using any dietary supplements. They may interact negatively with medications you are already taking.
14. Improves Sleep Quality
A 2008 study conducted at Tel Aviv University in Israel found that men who took 500 mg of vitamin C prior to bedtime reported better sleep quality. Researchers theorized that this was because vitamin C helps us relax and feel calm which facilitates restful sleep. Another study concluded that supplementing with 400mg of vitamin C improved sleep quality among healthy adults.
15. Enhances Memory
Vitamin C is believed to improve cognitive functions like memory. A 2009 study suggests that consuming extra vitamin C may help enhance memory in seniors. But a 2016 clinical trial showed that taking 1g of vitamin C failed to show improvement on tests used to measure short term memory.
16. Improves Mood & Energy
Many studies suggest that vitamin C supports energy and mood. A 2014 review notes that people with low vitamin C levels often report feeling tired and unmotivated. The researchers say that more research needs to be done to determine if there’s any real link between vitamin C and increased energy. However, they do note that vitamin C has long been known to increase endurance during exercise. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, try supplementing with vitamin C.
17. Increases Bone Strength
Some scientists hypothesize that vitamin C plays a role in bone development and maintenance. People with osteoporosis usually have lower levels of vitamin C than those without it. According to one study, supplementing with 2 grams per day could significantly increase bone density. Although more research is needed to confirm whether vitamin C plays a direct role in bone health, it’s still thought to be beneficial for treating conditions such as osteoporosis.
18. Soothes Skin Conditions
People suffering from acne may benefit from vitamin C supplementation. A 2010 study found that taking 6 g daily helped reduce skin inflammation. Other studies suggest that vitamin C can also promote healing of wounds and burns.
19. Protects Against Infections
The body naturally produces vitamin C to fight off infections. But many people don’t get enough through their diet. Eating foods rich in vitamin C can boost immunity against colds and flu. One 2015 study found that supplementing with 800 mg of vitamin C reduced the risk of getting sick by 40% over six months.
So, what should you take away from all of this? Well, we hope you’ve found some interesting information about how vitamin C works and its potential benefits. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave us a comment below. And if you want to learn even more about vitamins and nutrition, check out our site here.