Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which ensures that the body can not produce it. It has many functions in your body and has been associated with remarkable health benefits. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for women is 75 mg and for men is 90 mg. Here are 7 impressive health benefits of vitamin C supplements.
1. Vitamin C May Prevent Heart Disease
Some factors raise heart disease, including high blood pressure, high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and low levels of “healthy” HDL cholesterol.
Vitamin C may help to reduce the risk factors that may affect the heart.
For example, a nine-study review with a combined 293,172 participants found that people who took at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily after 10 years had a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease relative to those who did not take a vitamin C supplement (1).
Ironically, another study of 15 studies found that a reduced risk of heart disease was associated with consuming vitamin C only from foods, not supplements.
Scientists were uncertain whether people who consumed foods rich in vitamin C also followed a healthier lifestyle. Therefore, it remains unclear whether the differences were because of vitamin C or other dietary aspects (2).
Another analysis of 13 studies examined the impact on risk factors for heart diseases, such as blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The analysis found that taking a vitamin C supplement reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides (3).
In short, it seems to reduce the risk of heart disease by taking or consuming at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily. If you are already eating a diet rich in vitamin C, however, supplements may not provide additional health benefits.
2. Can Boost Immune System
One of the key reasons people take Vitamin C supplements is to increase their immunity. In many areas of the immune system, vitamin C is involved.
Vitamin C helps to promote the development of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes that help protect the body from infection (4).
However, vitamin C helps these white blood cells act more efficiently while shielding them from damage that are potentially harmful, such as free radicals.
Vitamin C is an essential part of the defense mechanism of the skin. It is effectively transported to the skin where it can serve as an antioxidant and help reinforce the defenses system of the skin (5).
Patients with pneumonia, for example, have lower levels of vitamin C, and supplements of vitamin C have been shown to reduce the recovery time (8).
3. Can Protect the Memory
Dementia is a broad term for explaining the effects of poor memory and thought. It affects over 35 million people around the world and usually occurs in older adults (10).
Studies suggest that oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain’s vicinity, spine, and nerves (known as the central nervous system) may increase the risk of dementia.
To understand the impact of vitamin C supplements on the health of the nervous system, we need more human-based studies.
4. Can Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases
Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that can strengthen the natural defenses of your body (18).
Antioxidants are molecules that stimulate the immune system. Through defending cells from damaging molecules called free radicals, they do so.
Oxidative stress has been related to many chronic diseases when free radicals accumulate (19).
Studies show that eating more vitamin C will raise the levels of antioxidants in your blood by up to 30%. It helps to combat inflammation by the natural defenses of the body (20).
5. Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease, the world’s leading cause of death (23).
Research has shown that in those with and without high blood pressure, vitamin C can help lower blood pressure.
An animal study found that taking a supplement of vitamin C helped relax the blood vessels carrying blood from the heart, helping to reduce blood pressure (24).
In addition, a review of 29 human studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement, in healthy adults, lowered on average systolic blood pressure (upper value) by 3.84 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (lower value) by 1.48 mmHg.
Vitamin C supplements have lowered systolic blood pressure by 4.85 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.67 mmHg on average in adults with current high blood pressure (25).
While these findings are positive, it is not clear whether there are long-term effects on blood pressure. In addition, people with high blood pressure should not depend on the care of vitamin C alone.
6. Can Reduce Blood Uric Acid Levels
Gout is an arthritis that affects about 4% of American adults. It is painful, causing joint inflammation, especially those of the big toes. Individuals with a swelling history of gout and sudden, severe pain attacks (26, 27).
Good symptoms occur when the blood produces too much uric acid. Uric acid is a body-made waste product. It can crystallize and accumulate in the joints at top levels.
It is interesting to note that several studies have shown that vitamin C can help reduce uric acid in the blood and thus protect against gout attacks.
A study of 1,387 individuals, for example, found that people who consumed the most vitamin C had significantly limited levels of uric acid in their blood relative to those who consumed the least (26).
Another research followed over 20 years of 46,994 healthy men to see if the intake of vitamin C was correlated with gout growth. Ironically, people taking a supplement of vitamin C had a 44% lower risk of gout (28).
In addition, 13 clinical studies showed that taking a vitamin C supplement reduced uric acid in the blood over 30 days compared to a placebo (29).
Although there seems to be a powerful link between intake of vitamin C and levels of uric acid, further studies are needed on the effects of vitamin C on gout.
7. Can Help Prevent Iron Deficiencies
Iron is an essential nutrient in the body with a variety of functions. To produce red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout the body, it is necessary.
Ironically, supplements with vitamin C can help improve the dietary absorption of iron. Vitamin C helps transform iron that is poorly absorbed into a form that is easier to absorb, such as plant-based iron sources (30).
This is useful because the meat is a significant source of iron for those on a meat-free diet. Eating 100 mg of vitamin C will improve the absorption of iron by 67% (31).
As a result, the risk of anemia among people prone to iron deficiency may be reduced by vitamin C.
If you have low iron levels, eating more vitamin C-rich foods or taking a supplement with vitamin C can help improve your blood iron levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vitamin C applies to ascorbic acid L-enantiomer and its oxidized forms. Enantiomer is an isomer for the optical. That means the atomic arrangement of vitamin C and ascorbic acid are each other’s mirror images, but they are not identical.
An Isomer is a molecule that has the same molecular formula as other molecules but differ in their structural formulas. Each element’s number is the same, but its atomic structure is different.
The most common element in vitamin C-rich foods is that they all are plant-based. Fruits containing the highest Ascorbate source are:
Citrus fruits juices like orange and grapefruit, Mango, Papaya, Kiwi fruit, Pineapple, Berries like strawberries, Cantaloupe, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, and Watermelon.
Vegetables with top levels of Vitamin C:
Capsicum, Green leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, sweet and white potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, tomatoes, and Winter squash.
Lack of sufficient vitamin C in the diet is causing its deficiency. Over time, the lack of vitamin C results in reduced production of collagen (a protein).
The lack of collagen results in tissue breakdown. Body maintenance and repair are hampered. Chronic vitamin C deficiency leads to an ailment known as scurvy over three months.
People living below the poverty line, suffering from undernourishment. Low-income groups of people who prefer not to purchase vitamin C-rich food.
People with diseases that affect their ability to absorb nutrients from food such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. People with unhealthy eating habits and lacking well-balanced meals. Pregnant and lactating women needing more vitamin C intake in their diets.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that needs to be derived from the diet or supplements. VC has many incredible health benefits, such as increasing antioxidant levels, lowering blood pressure, and more. Ultimately, if you’re struggling to get enough from your diet, vitamin C supplements are a perfect and easy way to boost your intake of vitamin C.
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