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Here Are 20 Ways How Vitamin C Benefits Your Health

By Bindu Vinodh

Vitamin C, also referred to as 'L-ascorbic acid', is a water-soluble vitamin, present in various food sources. It is an antioxidant that helps in the regeneration of other antioxidants in the body and prevents the harmful effects of free radicals on the body.

However, in humans, the body cannot produce this vitamin by itself, making it an essential dietary component.

Impressive Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements

If you thought that vitamin C is just for normal growth and development of the body and for prevention of colds, the importance of this vital vitamin is much more than that.

The vitamin helps in the protection against cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, eye diseases, prenatal health issues, and skin issues and in safeguarding your immune system as a whole.

Several studies being conducted over the past decade have unfolded a vast list of amazing benefits of vitamin C. Vitamin C improves iron absorption and plays a leading role in the healing of wounds and in building connective tissue.

However, before getting into the benefits of vitamin C for your health, don't you want to know the recommended dosage of vitamin C that your body needs to remain healthy?

Recommended Dosage Of Vitamin C:

  • Men - 90 mg daily
  • Women - 75 mg daily
  • Pregnant women - 85 mg daily
  • Lactating mothers - 120 mg daily
  • Infants (0 to 12 months) - will get vitamin C from breast milk.
  • Children (1 to 3 years) - 15 mg daily
  • Children (4 to 8 years) - 25 mg daily
  • Children (9 to 13 years) - 45 mg daily
  • Adolescents (14 to 18 years) - 60 mg for girls and 75 mg for boys daily

What Happens When You Are Vitamin C Deficient?

When your body does not have an adequate amount of the C vitamin, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

• Weakened immunity
• Swollen and painful joints
• Weight gain or weight loss
• Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
• Slow healing of wounds
• Dry hair and skin
• Nosebleeds
• Irritability
• Weakness
• Symptoms of scurvy (due to defects in connective tissues)
• In children, deficiency symptoms may include slowed growth, impaired bone growth, anemia, and bleeding.

Taking adequate amount of vitamin C can keep you away from these symptoms, apart from offering several other health benefits.

Here are 20 ways in which Vitamin C can benefit your body:
1. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
2. Fights Stress
3. Prevents Stroke
4. Regulates Blood Pressure
5. Boosts Immunity
6. Reduces Severity Of Colds
7. May Help In Preventing Cancer
8. Fights Arthritis
9. Reduces Macular Degeneration
10. Keeps Skin Youthful
11. Keeps Gums Healthy
12. Fights Allergies
13. Regulates Blood Sugar
14. Improves Energy Levels
15. Heals Wounds
16. Treats Sunburn
17. Prevents Skin Discoloration
18. Improves Skin Texture
19. Boosts Hair Growth
20. Prevents Dandruff

1. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases

Several studies have shown that vitamin C may play a lead role in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular illness. The high plasma levels of vitamin C have been associated with reduced risk of heart diseases.

Researchers claim that vitamin C may do the same good as that offered by exercise for your heart. When taken regularly, vitamin C can help by stopping the activity of a protein called 'endothelin-1', which can otherwise constrict minor blood vessels, eventually causing heart attacks.

Vitamin C has the ability to lower blood pressure, thereby keeping your arteries flexible.
The Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry says that fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C can prevent heart disease. A diet rich in vitamin C can lower blood cholesterol by 1% and reduce heart attack by 2%.

When taken as a supplement, vitamin C was found to lower serum cholesterol levels, thereby helping in preventing coronary heart diseases.

2. Fights Stress

A recent meta-analysis revealed that vitamin C was beneficial to people who had a weakened immune system due to high stress levels. This is because the nutrients in vitamin C are sensitive to stress, and it is the first nutrient to be depleted in obese individuals and smokers, which makes it a vital marker for overall health.

3. Prevents Stroke

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that people with the highest level of vitamin C in their blood were 42% less vulnerable to the risk of stroke than those with lower levels of the vitamin.

Although the reason for this is not completely clear, it is evident that people who ate plenty of vegetables and fruits with high vitamin C content had higher levels of vitamin C in their blood.

4. Regulates Blood Pressure

A John Hopkins Medicine report claims that higher levels of vitamin C can lower blood pressure. This is because vitamin C acts as a diuretic, triggering the kidneys to remove excess sodium and water from the body, which also relieves pressure on the walls of the blood vessels.
Further, vitamin C protects the supply of nitric oxide in the body, which helps relax the blood vessels.

5. Boosts Immunity

Deficiency of vitamin C can hamper the body's resistance against pathogens. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system and strengthens it. It also reduces the severity of allergies and keeps infections at bay.

In individuals suffering from wounds, an optimal dose of vitamin C can accelerate the healing process. Apart from fighting several illnesses associated with low immunity including common cold and asthma, the vitamin can keep a serious immune deficiency disease called 'scurvy' at bay.

6. Reduces Severity Of Colds

While vitamin C is not a cure for colds, some studies have shown that it may prevent the severity of cold and its complications such as lung infections. However, more research is required in this matter.

But it does reduce the duration of cold and flu. Therefore, improving your vitamin C levels can be of help when you have colds.

7. May Help In Preventing Cancer

Several laboratory studies have shown that high doses of vitamin C can slow down the progress of liver, prostate, colon and other types of malignant cells. It is said that higher doses of the vitamin may help in cancer treatment too.

When vitamin C is given as intravenous administration to patients with cancer who could not be operated upon, there has been a considerable reduction in tumour volume, without associated side-effects, as Ascorbate killed cancer cells.

Another Cornell University report also stated that vitamin C helps in arresting colorectal cancer. Vitamin C, being a good antioxidant, can help by neutralizing free radicals and toxins in the body, thereby preventing the onset of cancer.

8. Fights Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation reveals that vitamin C can help prevent certain types of arthritis. However, an excess of the vitamin can worsen the condition too. Therefore, ensure that you take the appropriate dosage.

Apart from preventing inflammatory arthritis, the vitamin helps in the maintenance of healthy joints in cases of osteoarthritis. In fact, research has shown that people with low levels of vitamin C are three times more likely to develop inflammatory arthritis.

9. Reduces Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the age-related deterioration of the retina of the eye that can severely impair vision. Vitamin C protects the cells of your eyes and reduces the rate of macular degeneration (cell decay rate).
In a major study on age-related eye disease conducted by the National Eye Institute (National Institutes of Health), it is beneficial to take a supplement formula of vitamin C, along with vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper to lessen the risk for vision loss for people with age-related macular degeneration.

10. Keeps Skin Youthful

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that there is a link between skin ageing and nutrient intake.
In a study conducted on 4,025 women aged 40 to 74 years, it was found that higher vitamin C levels were associated with the lower appearance of signs of ageing such as dryness of skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. Moreover, it helped in keeping the skin younger looking.

11. Keeps Gums Healthy

Deficiency of vitamin C can lead to periodontal disease, which is a severe form of gum disease, known as gingivitis. This is because low levels of this vitamin can weaken the connective tissue easily and break down the capillaries. The disease begins as bleeding gums, as vitamin C is vital for healthy teeth and gums.

12. Fights Allergies

Vitamin C helps in reducing histamine, a biochemical that is released by your body causing allergies. A Japanese study has confirmed that autoimmune diseases and related allergies can be controlled by vitamin C, which also helps in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

13. Regulates Blood Sugar

Vitamin C, when taken regularly in the form of a supplement, was shown to regulate blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, apart from preventing the damages caused to blood vessels due to high sugar levels, reveals a report from Diabetes Research Centre, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences.
Another Japanese study has also confirmed that diabetes can be regulated by vitamin C treatment, as the vitamin stimulates insulin mechanism, aiding in the treatment process.

14. Improves Energy Levels

Vitamin C is beneficial in eliminating fatigue and in pushing you through the pain barrier. When taken as a supplement, it was found to reduce fatigue by 55% in football players.
A Korean study has revealed that vitamin C reduce work-related fatigue in healthy employees. When used as a supplement, vitamin C helped improve physical activity levels in men who otherwise had only marginal levels of vitamin C in their body.

15. Heals Wounds

Vitamin C is associated with the quicker healing of wounds, and the high antioxidant content in vitamin C helps in treating burn lesions. A high dosage of vitamin C reduces capillary leakage when exposed to burns. The vitamin aids the growth of new tissues and skin too. It accelerates the healing process of burns and wounds.

16. Treats Sunburn

When applied topically in the form of oil, or when taken internally in the form of a supplement, vitamin C can help in treating sunburn. Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen production too. However, vitamin C oil should be used only in addition to sunscreen and not as a substitute. Vitamin C reduces the effects of UVB-rays which cause reddening of the skin.

17. Prevents Skin Discoloration

Vitamin C protects against the damage caused to the DNA by photochemical reactions which could otherwise lead to discoloration of the skin and certain types of skin cancer. It also curbs the production of pyrimidine dimers that are the main reason for melanomas in humans. Further, it can help in lightening skin freckles and age spots, giving you a younger appearance.

18. Improves Skin Texture

When your skin lacks sufficient nutrients, it becomes rough, dry, and patchy. Topical application of vitamin C in the form of creams improves the texture and appearance of the skin.
This is because vitamin C helps in collagen synthesis, which provides the structure for blood vessels under the skin which carry oxygen and nutrients to keep the skin healthy. Vitamin C also boosts the formation of elastin, helps retain moisture, improves circulation, and plumps up the skin.

19. Boosts Hair Growth

Deficiency of vitamin C may be the root cause of several hair-related problems, such as split ends, dry hair, and hair fall. The free radicals formed in our body may be responsible for thinning of hair, interrupting the hair growth.
The high antioxidants present in vitamin C reduce the formation of free radicals and reduce their impact on the body. Therefore, it is essential to have an adequate intake of vitamin C for antioxidant protection to fight free radicals. People with healthy vitamin C levels are generally seen to have thick, healthy hair.

20. Prevents Dandruff

Vitamin C has the ability to fight bacteria on the scalp. Generally, our hair follicles get clogged up due to dandruff and flaky skin. The vitamin fights off the scalp bacteria, helping in getting rid of the debris accumulated in the hair follicles, promoting new hair growth.
The vitamin's antiviral properties help in getting rid of a dry, itchy scalp too.

So, the benefits of vitamin C are indeed amazing, right? But what are the sources of vitamin C that you can depend on to meet adequate intake of the vitamin? Here's the list:

Dietary Sources Of Vitamin C

The best sources of vitamin C include green and red peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, turnip greens, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash, all citrus fruits, strawberries, papaya, guava and the list goes on.

The best option is to consume more vegetables and fruits, as that will not only give you higher levels of vitamin C but will also help in increasing your intake of other nutrients that are beneficial to health.

Note: Although an adequate amount of vitamin C is highly beneficial for your body, make sure that you do not exceed the safe maximum limit of 2000 mg per day, as it can result in stomach cramps and diarrhea. Consult your doctor if you are considering intake of vitamin C as a supplement.

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    Read more about: health vitamin c
    Story first published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 13:30 [IST]
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