4 Ways Vitamin C Keeps You Healthy

By | May 1, 2023

From healing wounds to boosting your immune system, vitamin C provides multiple benefits.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in your health. Also, our body does not produce it, so we have to get it through our diet.

You probably already know a bit about vitamin C. It’s found in oranges, right? Yes. And it can help you get over a cold, right? Something like that. You are on the right track, but vitamin C offers so much more. What is vitamin C?

Additionally, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from cell damage and plays an important role in tissue growth, wound healing, and maintaining a strong immune system.

Health benefits of vitamin C

Fights cell damage and disease.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in certain foods. You can think of antioxidants as the invisible superheroes inside your body. Their main job is to protect you from free radicals, or unstable molecules that can damage your cells, cause oxidative stress, increase signs of aging, and more.

The buildup of free radicals is associated with a risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Therefore, eating antioxidant-rich foods, such as those high in vitamin C, can help protect your body from free radical-related damage.

protect your eyes
Vitamin C is believed to help prevent cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye) and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that causes people to lose central vision.

Studies have shown mixed results, but we do know that vitamin C acts as an antioxidant for cells in the retina and macular area of ​​the eye.

Improves iron absorption
Some plant foods, such as beans and spinach, contain iron (a type called non-heme iron), which is not fully absorbed by our bodies. But if you take it with vitamin C, the bioavailability of non-heme iron increases, which means you absorb more of it.

Let’s say you’re making a spinach salad with strawberries on top. Spinach has non-heme iron while strawberries are rich in vitamin C and if you eat them together, the vitamin C in the strawberries helps your body absorb more iron from the spinach.

Helps heal wounds.
Vitamin C encourages the growth of collagen, which is an important part of your body’s healing process. Collagen is a protein that keeps our skin young.

It is one of the keys to proper wound healing, including cuts, scrapes, and surgical incisions. People who don’t get enough vitamin C have been shown to heal more slowly than those who get the recommended amount.

Other potential benefits

Science never stops. There are always studies underway to uncover new health information, including the many roles vitamin C plays in our bodies. Here are some other potential benefits of vitamin C, although more research is needed on all of them:

It can help you get well quickly: Contrary to what you may have heard, vitamin C can’t keep you from getting sick (sorry). But it can still help. Some studies show that it can help reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu, and possibly reduce the risk of further complications.

May improve heart health – Vitamin C may help prevent and treat cardiovascular disease, including stroke. However, studies so far are conflicting, so researchers still can’t say for sure how effective it might be.

Signs of vitamin C deficiency

Most people get enough vitamin C in their daily diet. But malnutrition, alcohol use disorder, smoking, and eating disorders can all lead to low vitamin C levels.

Not getting enough vitamin C is fairly uncommon, but in some cases, people can be deficient in it. This can lead to scurvy, a severe form of deficiency that, although rare in Western countries, occurs more frequently in people living in extreme poverty and/or those who are malnourished.

Dangers of Too Much Vitamin C

If you get vitamin C from food, you usually don’t need to get more than you need, because the body doesn’t store it, it actually excretes the excess. The upper limit for vitamin C supplements is 2,000 mg per day. At doses higher than this, you may experience side effects such as:

Cramps and/or upset stomach.
At very high levels, it strains the kidneys and this can lead to stone formation and, in extreme cases, kidney failure.

Should You Take Vitamin C Supplements?

If you eat a balanced diet, you probably already get enough vitamin C. For example, if you eat vegetables and fruits every day, you’ll get the recommended amount.

But if you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough vitamin C (for example, if you smoke or don’t eat a lot of fruits and vegetables), talk to your doctor about whether supplements are safe for you. The usual dose of the supplement is 500 mg per day, but a different amount may be recommended.

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