Vitamin C benefits our health in many ways. It is an important nutrient and protects our body from various diseases.
So, let us learn:
What is vitamin c good for? And
What does vitamin c do our body keeping it healthy and fit?
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C - also known as l-ascorbic acid - is a nutrient which our body does not produce and it is found to be naturally occurring in quite a few foods.
It’s one of the most well-known and well-studied nutrients on the face of the earth. Vitamin C has been studied under scrutiny since it became apparent that vitamin C deficiency was the cause of scurvy.
Scurvy is a disease that stripped otherwise healthy sailors of their hair, teeth, energy, skin - and eventually, their lives.
Vitamin C also functions on its own as an antioxidant and a highly effective one at that. Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cells which damage healthy cells.
Cellular oxidation is the primary cause of the symptoms of aging - be that disease, wrinkling skin, diminishing strength.
How does vitamin c help your body?
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients in the human body. Without it, we’ll develop many less-than-desirable symptoms:
- Dry and splitting hair
- Gingivitis (inflamed or bleeding gums)
- Skin becoming dry, flaky or scaly
- Inhibited healing of injuries
The combination of vitamin C deficiency symptoms are known as scurvy.
On the flipside of this unpleasantness, you will see that regular consumption of vitamin C benefits our body positively.
- Vitamin C makes hair shiny and healthy
- Vitamin C boosts the health of your teeth and gums
- Vitamin C improves the strength, structure, and tone of your skin
- Vitamin C speeds up the body’s ability to heal injuries
These aren’t all the benefits of vitamin C. But, it has even much more for our healthy body. We’ll get into those in a bit.
Are we getting enough vitamin C?
The local statistics of vitamin C deficiency may differ, depending on your nationality and locale. However, worldwide, vitamin C deficiency is shockingly common.
Vitamin C Deficiency
- In Canada, one in seven healthy nonsmoking young adults met the quota for vitamin C deficiency, and only 53% met the recommended level.
- In the US, 15% of adults have been found deficient in vitamin C.
- In Mexico, women are particularly vulnerable to scurvy - with as many as 40% being deficient in vitamin C. Even Mexican babies had rates as high as 30%. Peculiar in a country where vitamin C-rich food grows everywhere! (1)
- The prevalence of vitamin C deficiency is also shockingly common in poor countries like India.(2)
If you want to ensure you get enough vitamin C, make sure your diet is appropriate before turning to supplements. Citrus fruits like oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits are incredibly high in vitamin C.
12 Ways Vitamin C Benefits and Promotes Good Health
1. Vitamin C Reduces The Effects Of Skin Aging
Aging skin is caused by a number of things. The most obvious is oxidation of skin cells. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and slows or prevents oxidation from occurring.(3)
This means it can significantly slow the development of wrinkles, liver spots, and other symptoms of aging skin.
Vitamin C also helps the body produce collagen, the hormone responsible for maintaining healthy skin and giving it a youthful glow.
2. Vitamin C Helps Wounds Heal Faster
Vitamin C benefits all parts of the body’s wound healing systems. It allows the inflammatory phase to take place, and aids cells in reproducing efficiently when repairing damaged cells at the wound site.
Being deficient in vitamin C prevents the body from effectively producing collagen. Collagen is also useful in repairing wounds.(4)
When vitamin C is used to make collagen, the body’s stores of ascorbic acid dwindle. This means - eat more oranges when you scrape your knees!
3. Vitamin C Benefits Immune Function Positively
Through its antioxidant action, vitamin C prevents the immune system from oxidative damage. During any period of high-stress or exertion, the body will intake and release more oxygen, causing a greater rate of oxidative stress.(5)
Having antioxidants present can slow the damage caused by this process.
Having a strong immune system is key to fighting off disease, and surviving through the ones that manage to sneak past your immune system.
4. Vitamin C Promotes Healthy Gums
Gingivitis is one of the most recognized aspects of scurvy - also known as vitamin C deficiency.
Vitamin C helps its host produce more defensive mechanisms for oral health. Vitamin C also helps keep the digestive system functioning effectively, which allows for better absorption of other nutrients and minerals, including calcium.
Calcium is highly responsible for your body’s ability to develop healthy bones.
Vitamin C was shown to cause gingival overgrowth - a condition where an excessive growth of gum tissue affects the host’s mouth. Regular supplementation with vitamin C, however, reduces and reverses these symptoms.
5.Vitamin C Reduces Severity Of Allergies
Allergy is a type of autoimmune reaction, typically caused by the release of histamine.
Vitamin C treatments were shown to rapidly reduce cortisol, frequency of urination and excretion of toxins, and increase plasma glucocorticoid activity.
Glucocorticoids are an immune system response that lowers responses to certain immune responses - like allergies.
Vitamin C reduced all the symptoms of allergy for this individual. Benefits of vitamin C are really many more than we think.
6. Vitamin C Fights Against Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s response to a threat. It’s an effort to defend itself, or remove harmful things like damaged cells or toxins.(8)
When it’s uncalled for or excessive, inflammation can cause problems and eventually lead to disease.
7. Vitamin C Helps Control Blood Glucose In Diabetic Patients
Despite fruits like apples and oranges being fairly sweet and high in sugar, their nutritional effect is paradoxical: they actually help prevent blood sugar spikes. This is due in part to their vitamin C content.(11)
Vitamin C offers a huge helping hand to diabetics. It controls serum lipids and glycated haemoglobin, two compounds closely-related to the management of diabetic symptoms.
Vitamin C has proven that it lowers blood sugar and blood lipids (fats) and lowers the chance of complications. It works in both diabetics, type II diabetics, and pre-diabetics hoping to avoid developing the diseases.(12)
8. Vitamin C Promotes Heart Health
How does vitamin C help your body strengthen your heart?
Vitamin C benefits the heart in a lot of different ways.(13)
It’s been shown to help those already afflicted with certain heart diseases.
A study done on people with recurring heart failure showed that vitamin C enhanced blood flow to and from the heart, helping them manage their condition better.(14)
Low levels of ascorbic acid are known to increase blood pressure, which can lead to cholesterol buildup and atherosclerosis. This is a gradual hardening of your body’s arteries that multiplies the chance of heart disease.(15)
Vitamin C helps prevent this from happening.
9. Vitamin C Improves Eye Health
Being a potent antioxidant, vitamin C is able to protect all tissues against oxidative damage.
The macula - the part of the eye responsible for seeing - is extremely sensitive to oxidation. Vitamin C helps prevent this.
Oxidation of the macula leads to rapidly degenerating eyesight, and this damage is irreparable. The only way to stop it is to prevent it before it gets to you!
Vitamin C can also help regenerate and restore efficacy to other antioxidants that help with eyesight, such as vitamin E.(16)
10. Vitamin C Improves Conditions For Sufferers of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most well-known neurodegenerative diseases. A neurodegenerative disease is an incurable disease of the brain that continues to get worse with age.
Many neurodegenerative illnesses are caused by oxidized cells - which, as we know, vitamin C can prevent.
Vitamin C can’t cure Alzheimer’s. As of yet, nothing can. It can help slow its onset, though, and has even shown improvement for those already afflicted with the disease.(17)
As with many of our prior health benefits of vitamin C, the most important thing here is avoiding a deficiency of vitamin C.
A deficiency will greatly speed along the development of such diseases.
11. Vitamin C Is Linked To Killing Cancer Cells
However, it must be administered intravenously or the effects will be wasted, and the doses must be large. Far larger than you could hope to achieve by eating vitamin C supplements.
Doses of 18 grams a day allowed for hydrogen peroxide to be produced in the body and effectively delivered to tissues, eliminating damaged or cancerous cells.
Studies are still not able to conclusively determine that vitamin C kills cancer cells. If anything, it’s responsible for the transport of compounds that can kill cancer cells - but, even so, results are not definitive as yet. Some patients have no luck.(18)
12. Vitamin C Helps Prevent the Common Cold
Our first reason isn’t so much of a health benefit as a warning against the many people who use vitamin C as a weapon to fight against the common cold.(19)
The cold is a viral infection, and vitamin C is an antioxidant. It will not directly cure your cold.
Vitamin C may bolster your immune system, preventing further colds.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for a good reason - without it, we’ll fall apart. There are many health benefits of vitamin C apart from listed above.
It’s shocking to see how many systems fall apart without vitamin C to regulate them.
On the other hand, though, it’s reassuring to see how powerful of a medicine a commonly available nutrient like vitamin C can be.
Do you get enough vitamin C? Don't forget to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.