Almost everyone out there recognises the importance of Vitamin C to maintain your overall health and well-being. Vitamin is is an essential vitamin for your body that has to be obtained from food or other sources, in other words your body cannot synthesise or produce it on it’s own. Yet Vitamin C has multiple roles and is linked to some pretty impressive health benefits.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and found in numerous fruits and vegetables such as oranges, kiwi fruits, strawberries, spinach and many more.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommended daily intake for Vitamin C is between 75mg (for women) to 90mg (for men).
Although Vitamin C can be found in many fruits and vegetables, most people turn to supplements to meet their recommended daily intake due to multiple reasons (hectic lifestyle, eating on the go etc.)
Here are 5 reasons why you should pay more attention to your daily vitamin C intake and what it could mean in terms of health for you:
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that can boost your blood antioxidant levels. This may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
Help Manage High Blood Pressure
Almost one-third of adult Americans have some form of high blood pressure according to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC)
Having high blood pressure puts you at a much higher risk of having heart disease over the longer term, – which is the leading cause of death in adults worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.
Recent scientific studies have shown that Vitamin C will help lower blood pressure when taken over a period of time (typically 3 months or longer). This has been shown in both those with or without existing high blood pressure conditions.
A recent animal study found that taking a Vitamin C supplement helped to relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart – which then significantly helped to reduce blood pressure levels accordingly.
In additional, another human study (with a sample of 30 people) discovered that taking Vitamin C supplement also helped to reduce systolic blood pressure by almost 3.8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.5 mmHg on average in healthy adults.
For adults with existing high blood pressure conditions, Vitamin C supplements reduces systolic blood pressure by 4.9mmHG and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 mmHg, on average, according to this study.
Whilst these results are indeed premising, it is still unclear whether the effects on blood pressure with Vitamin C endures over the longer term. Moreover, someone with an existing high blood pressure condition should definitely not be relying solely on Vitamin C for treatment.
Vitamin C supplements have been found to lower blood pressure in both healthy adults and those with high blood pressure.
Reduces Blood Uric Levels
Taking Vitamin C supplements over a period of time has also been shown to help with reducing blood uric levels. This also helps to prevent gout attacks.
Gout is basically a type of arthritis that affects approximately 5% of American adults.
Gout is also incredibly painful and involves inflammation fo the joints – typically those of the big toes. Someone with gout would encounter sudden swelling and severe bouts of pain which can be extremely discomforting.
Typically symptoms of gout appear when there is too much uric aside in the blood. Uric acid is considered a waster product that produced by the human body, at high levels or concentration, it typically crystallises and deposits in the joints of someone.
Recent studies though have shown that Vitamin C can help with reducing overall uric acid levels in the blood, and protect against gout attacks.
An example of a recent study involving over 1300 men found that those who had consumed the most Vitamin C had significantly lower blood levels of uric acid compared to those who consumed the lease Vitamin C during the course of the study.
Another study followed, this one much larger and involved 46,994 healthy men over 20 years to determine whether vitamin C intake was linked to developing gout. It found that people who took a vitamin C supplement had a 44% lower gout risk
Additionally, an analysis of 13 studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement over 30 days significantly reduced blood uric acid, compared with a placebo.
Whilst it cannot be denied that Vitamin C helps reduce uric acid love, more studies would be required to determine the effects of Vitamin C in relationship with gout over the longer period of time.
Vitamin-C-rich foods and supplements have been linked to reduced blood uric acid levels and lower risk of gout.
Prevents Iron Deficieny
Consuming Vitamin C over a period of time also helps with the absorption of iron from a diet. This is because Vitamin C assist in converting iron that is naturally poorly absorbed (such as from plants) into a form that is much easier to be absorbed by the human body.
Iron is an important nutrient that has a variety of function in the body. Iron is also essential for making red blood cells and for transporting life-providing oxygen throughout the human body.
Due to this characteristic of Vitamin C, it is important for people on a meat-free (vegan) diet to have an adequate supply of Vitamin C supplement as they are essential to ensure your body gets an adequate supply of iron at all times.
In fact, research has shown that simply consuming 100 mg of Vitamin C improves iron absorption by almost 67%! It is indeed a potent supplement to ensure your body always has an adequate supply of iron.
With the absorption of iron, Vitamin as such also helps reduce the risk of anaemia significant. Anaemia is very common among people prone to iron deficiency.
In fact in one recent study, 65 children with mild iron deficiency were given a Vitamin C supplement. Researchers then found out that this alone helped control their anaemia by over 95% without any other further supplement or nourishment being provided.
If you ever have suffered from low iron levels, consuming more vitamin-C-rich foods or taking a vitamin C supplement may significantly help improve your blood iron levels in no time at all.
Vitamin C can improve the absorption of iron that is poorly absorbed, such as iron from meat-free sources. It may also reduce the risk of iron deficiency.
Boosts Overall Immunity
Vitamin C and immunity go hand in hand. In fact most people are aware of this fact, hence the reason why they take Vitamin C supplement to boost their immunity. Vitamin C is important in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Vitamin C also helps encourage the production of white blood cells (also known as lymphocytes and phagocytes), which significantly helps protect the body against infection and pathogens.
In addition Vitamin C also helps with the functionality of white blood cells. It accomplishes this by protecting cells from damage from harmful particles – such as free radicals.
It is also common knowledge that Vitamin C is an essential part of your skin’s defence. Vitamin C is actively transported to the skin, where it can act as an antioxidant and helps to strengthen the skin’s protective barriers.
Vitamin C is also essential in shortening a person’s wound healing time.
It has also been establish that low vitamin C levels is linked to poor overall health. For example, people with pneumonia tend to have lower Vitamin C levels. A deficiency of Vitamin C also means that you’d have a longer recovery time should you fall ill at any time.
As such ensuring your body has an adequate supply of Vitamin C is important in maintaining a healthy immune system and overall health.
Vitamin C may boost immunity by helping white blood cells function more effectively, strengthening your skin’s defense system, and helping wounds heal faster.
Protecting your Memory and Thinking with Age
As people age, dementia is a commonly used term to describe various symptoms and poor thinking and memory power. In fact dementia affects over 35 million people worldwide and commonly occurs amongst older people (typically over 60 years of age). Another benefit of Vitamin C is in delaying or slowing the early onset of dementia.
Recent studies have pointed to oxidative stress and the inflammation near the spine, brain and nerves (also known collectively as the central nervous system) is one of the main reasons behind the increase of risk of dementia.
Vitamin C is also acknowledged as a very powerful antioxidant. Low levels of Vitamin C has been linked to an impaired ability to think and remember – impaired memory and thinking power.
Recently, several studies have also highlighted that people with dementia may have low blood levels of Vitamin C. It has also been proven that a high Vitamin C intake from food or supplements has been shown to have a protective effect on memory and thinking powers as you typically age.
As such Vitamin C supplements aid against conditions such as early dementia, especially so if you don’t get enough vitamin C from your daily diet. However, additional studies would be needed to understand the effects of Vitamin C supplements on the human body’s central nervous system.
Low vitamin C levels have been linked to an increased risk of memory and thinking disorders like dementia, while a high intake of vitamin C from foods and supplements has been shown to have a protective effect.
Other Claims about Vitamin C
Whilst Vitamin C has many proven benefits scientifically, it has also many unfounded claims that are sometimes supported by weak evidence. These are highlighted below.
- Reduces Cancer Risk : A number of studies have linked Vitamin C consumption to a lower risk of several cancers. However most studies have found that Vitamin C intake does not affect the risk of developing or treating cancer.
- Treats Lead Toxicity : Some people with lead toxicity have been known to have low levels of Vitamin C. However there is no strong evidentiary claim from human studies that Vitamin C can treat lead toxicity.
Although vitamin C has many proven benefits, it has not been shown to prevent the common cold, reduce cancer risk, protect against eye diseases, or treat lead toxicity.
In conclusion, Vitamin C is a potent water-solutable vitamin that is important to maintaining the overall health of the human body. It has certainly been linked to a a number of impressive health benefits, such as boosting antioxidant levels, protecting against gout attacks, increasing the rate of iron absorption, boosting overall immunity and reducing heart diseases
As such ensuring your body has an adequate supply of Vitamin C at all times either with a proper diet or with a proven supplement is a simple and great way to ensure you stay in the pink of health!