Most people think of vitamin C as the supplement they take when they’re feeling a little under the weather.
However, they may not realize that vitamin C does more than just boost the immune system. It’s often overlooked as an everyday supplement even though it actually offers a long list of benefits.
In this article, we’ll deep dive into the other benefits of vitamin C and how taking this supplement can improve overall health.
What are the benefits of vitamin C?
Let’s get right into all the good stuff that vitamin C can do for your body. First, let’s talk about what it does in the immune system. Although it’s common to take this supplement to boost your immune system, most of us don’t really know how it’s helping the immune system.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Basically, that just means that it protects your cells from harmful free radicals. This layer of protection keeps your cells healthy and serves as an extra line of defense against illness and inflammation caused by oxidative stress.
White blood cells are another key line of defense in the immune system. Vitamin C actually encourages the body to produce more of these cells so it can fight infection more efficiently.
Vitamin C’s immune-boosting benefits may get the most attention, but taking a vitamin C supplement actually supports several other functions in the body.
Improves cognitive function
Age-related memory loss and more serious cognitive conditions like dementia are related to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Some studies have shown a connection between low levels of vitamin C and dementia.
Low vitamin C levels have also been linked to confusion, brain fog, and difficulty concentrating.
Promotes healthy skin
Vitamin C should be part of everyone’s skincare regimen. First, the antioxidants in vitamin C can protect your skin against sun damage. It might also lighten hyperpigmentation, which is a sign of sun damage.
If you’re hoping to keep your skin youthful, vitamin C can help with that too. Vitamin C promotes collagen production, which helps with the structure and elasticity of your skin. In other words, vitamin C can help to prevent wrinkles.
Vitamin C’s role in collagen production can also help with wound healing and lessen scarring.
Important for heart health
Some chronic diseases like heart disease are caused by oxidative stress. Basically, free radicals damage cells and cause inflammation, which increases the risk for chronic health problems over time.
Just like vitamin C works as an antioxidant in the immune system, it protects cells from free radical damage and chronic inflammation that eventually lead to heart disease. Some studies also suggest that vitamin C could help to lower blood pressure.
Supports bone health
Collagen isn’t just for the skin. When vitamin C encourages the body to produce more collagen, your bones benefit too. Collagen is one of the main structural components of bone tissue. In fact, studies have associated vitamin C intake with bone density.
Helps increase iron levels
Iron makes red blood cells and helps transport oxygen throughout the body. When you don’t have enough, you develop a condition called anemia.
If you follow a plant-based diet, you might be at risk for anemia because your body doesn’t absorb as much iron from plant-based sources. Taking vitamin C with iron can actually help your body absorb more.
What are some of the best sources of vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, which means your body can’t make it on its own. You have to get enough through your diet or supplementation. It’s also water-soluble, which means a diet with plenty of variety will likely give you enough vitamin C.
People who don’t eat a lot of produce, smoke, or take certain medications are at higher risk for deficiency.
Some sources of vitamin C include:
- Oranges and orange juice
- Sweet peppers
- Brussels sprouts
Taking a supplement is also an easy way to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin C. A lot of factors can go into choosing the best supplement, like price, quality, and manufacturing standards.
How much vitamin C should I take each day?
The recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin C for adults is 60 to 75 milligrams (mg) per day. However, it may be beneficial in some situations to take more than this amount.
For example, increasing vitamin C intake may shorten the time you’re down with a cold or help with iron deficiency.
You can check our article on how much vitamin C to take per day to learn more.
The tolerable upper intake level (UL), or amount that is considered “too much” is 2000mg per day.
Getting too much isn’t necessarily dangerous, but could cause mildly uncomfortable symptoms like upset stomach and heartburn. Your body will eliminate any unneeded vitamin C through your urine.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for a lot more than just the immune system.
Vitamin C also decreases the risk for heart disease and other chronic illnesses, improves skin and bone health, supports cognitive function, and increases iron absorption.
Although vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, it’s easy to become deficient if you don’t eat these foods often. Vitamin C is water-soluble and you can only get it through your diet.
If you want to ensure you’re getting enough, a supplement like Naked C is a good option.