Posted on Apr 08, 2021, 6 p.m.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and can be obtained from many fruits and vegetables, it is also an essential vitamin that the body is not able to produce, it has many roles and has been linked to some impressive health benefits.
While some take supplements to meet the daily requirements for vitamin C it is recommended to get your intake from food sources such as bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, kale, strawberries, kiwi, and oranges.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can help to strengthen the body’s natural defenses by boosting the immune system by protecting cells from harmful free radical molecules that can accumulate and promote oxidative stress which is linked to many chronic diseases. Studies have shown that vitamin C can increase blood antioxidant levels by 30% helping the body’s natural defenses to fight inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
According to the CDC, around one-third of American adults have high blood pressure, putting them at risk for heart disease which is the leading cause of death around the globe. Studies have shown that vitamin C can help to lower blood pressure in those with and without high blood pressure. This may be done by helping the blood vessels to relax that carry blood from the heart which helps to reduce blood pressure levels. However, this does not mean that those with high blood pressure should rely on vitamin C to rely on vitamin C alone to manage high blood pressure.
Research analyzing 9 studies found that those taking at least 700 mg a day of vitamin C had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not. Another analysis of 15 studies found that consuming vitamin C from foods and not supplements was linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Additionally, another analysis of 13 studies found that taking vitamin C supplements significantly reduced risk factors for heart disease including blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These studies suggest that at least 500 mg of vitamin C each day can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, however, if you are consuming a vitamin C-rich diet taking supplements may not provide additional heart health benefits.
Studies suggest that vitamin C may help to reduce blood uric acid levels and help prevent gout attacks which is a type of arthritis that affects around 4% of American adults.
Vitamin C helps to improve the absorption of iron from the diet and assists in converting iron that is poorly absorbed such as plant-based sources of iron and turns it into a form that is easier to absorb. This is especially important to those that are vegan as meat is a major source of iron, and iron is important to a variety of functions such as making red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. As a result, vitamin C may help to reduce the risk of anemia among those prone to iron deficiency.
Vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system, helping to encourage the production of lymphocytes and phagocyte white blood cells that help to protect the body against infections. Vitamin C also helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from harmful free radicals. Vitamin C is actively transported to the skin where it is an antioxidant that also helps to strengthen the skin’s barriers and may help to shorten wound healing time. Vitamin C helps to boost immunity, and lower levels have been linked to poor health outcomes, such as those with pneumonia tend to have lower levels.
Globally well over 35 million people are affected by dementia, studies suggest that inflammation and oxidative stress near the brain, spine, and nerves can increase the risk of dementia. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, lower levels of vitamin C have been linked to an impaired ability to think and remember. Studies have shown that those with dementia have lower blood levels of vitamin C, and a high intake of vitamin C from food/supplements have been shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory as we age. Studies suggest that vitamin C might help protect against conditions such as dementia, and if you don’t get enough from your diet supplements might help.
While vitamin C does afford many proven benefits, more research is needed on the effects on the nervous system. In addition to the proven benefits, vitamin C also has many unfounded claims supported by anecdotal evidence. The bottom line is that it has been linked to many impressive benefits such as boosting the immune system, increasing antioxidant levels, lowering blood pressure, improving iron absorption, protecting against gout attacks, and reducing the risk for heart disease and dementia. It is always best to get vitamin C from food sources, but if you are struggling to get enough from your diet a supplement may help (it is recommended to consult with your doctor or certified medical professional before taking any supplement).
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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