Vitamin C Benefits – Review the Latest Research

Full Disclosure

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a vital vitamin with many health advantages. It's water-soluble, which means it's not stored within our bodies. If you're suffering from excess, your body usually excretes the substance in urine.

Vitamin C is a sought-after antioxidant primarily known for its health benefits to the immune system. Many people use vitamin C supplements to avoid illnesses, particularly in the winter months of cold and flu. While increasing your immune system is a significant function vitamin C plays, it also has some other benefits that are not well-known about this vital vitamin. Find out what they are and more below, including some of the most effective Vitamin C sources and the things to consider before beginning an intake of vitamin C.

Dietary supplements are not strictly monitored through the FDA and might not be appropriate for you. Supplements' effects differ from one person to another. Various factors, such as the dosage, type, frequency of use, and interactions with other medications, influence them. Talk to your physician or pharmacist before starting any supplement.

Vitamin C is crucial since our bodies cannot make it by themselves. It is essential for healthy skin and immune health, as well as for the absorption of iron.

Improves Skin Health

One of the most prominent symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency is slow wound healing and brittle skin. Vitamin C is essential to skin health because it is connected to collagen.Collagen is an essential element of connective tissue. Vitamin C, in turn, is essential for collagen production. Therefore, if you do not consume sufficient vitamin C, collagen breaks down, which damages your skin.

Vitamin C is also linked to vitamin E, which is another antioxidant that guards your skin from harmful UV Rays.

Boosts Immunity

Vitamin C's importance in skin health also benefits the immune system since the skin is among our body's defense systems against pathogens. But it doesn't stop there. Vitamin C plays an important role in both adaptive and innate immunity, which is our body's initial response and a targeted response to certain pathogens. Vitamin C's antioxidant properties help prevent damaging oxidative stress to healthy cells.

Particularly in athletes, people who are exposed to extreme temperatures, or those at the threshold of deficiency in vitamin C, having a minimum of 200 mg of vitamin C daily can lower the risk of getting a common cold. The general populace Vitamin C supplementation hasn't been proven to stop the common cold. However, it could help reduce the duration and severity of symptoms when taken in a preventative manner (as opposed to following the development of symptoms).

May Reduce Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

The oxidative damage– which occurs in your body when you have numerous unstable molecules referred to as free radicals within your body, and there aren't enough antioxidants in the body to eliminate them — is believed to be the reason for cardiovascular disease antioxidants such as vitamin C could help in reducing the risks of heart disease. A study from 2020 showed that vitamin C supplements of a minimum of 500 mg daily were associated with lower cholesterol levels.

However, numerous other studies have revealed contradictory results regarding Vitamin C's contribution to reducing heart risk. Therefore, more studies are necessary to investigate this connection further.

Helps Absorb Nonheme Iron

Vitamin C plays a crucial function in improving nonheme-iron absorption, which is found in plants. If you're susceptible to iron deficiency, particularly those who eat plants, including vitamin C-rich foods in your food choices can aid in the absorption of iron in foods such as beans, seeds, nuts, and seeds. This could mean adding red peppers to your beans or eating oatmeal containing seeds, nuts, and strawberries.

Good Sources of Vitamin C

Although supplementation is one method to get vitamin C, there are a lot of excellent foods to choose from. There's no doubt that they're all fruits and vegetables, meaning that aside from Vitamin C, they contain numerous other essential nutrients for good health.

Some vitamin C-rich foods include:

  • Red bell pepper 95 milligrams (mg) per half raw cup, which is 106 percent of your daily intake (DV)
  • The orange juice contains 93 milligrams for 3/4 cup or 103% DV
  • Orange: 70 mg for a medium orange, which is 78% of the daily value
  • The grapefruit juice contains 70 milligrams for 3/4 cup (or 78% DV)
  • Kiwi: 64 mg / medium kiwi or 71% of DV
  • A green bell pepper has 60 mg for 1/2 cup of raw or 67% of the daily value
  • Broccoli: 50 mg for 1/2 cup cooked or 57% DV
  • Strawberries: 49 mg / 1/2 cup cut in half or 54% of the daily value
  • Brussels sprouts contain 48 mg in a 1/2 cup cooked or 53% of the daily value
  • Baked potato: 17 mg per medium potato, or 19% DV

How To Take Vitamin C

Supplements are a different way of supplying your vitamin C requirements. They come in many forms, such as capsules, powder, gummies, chewables, and liquids.

Vitamin C is a drink that can be consumed anytime of the day; however, spreading the dose or having it in conjunction with food could reduce the chance of stomach-related side effects caused by its acidity levels.

Dosage

The recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamin C are according to age, sex and lactation status, pregnancy, and smoking. These RDAs of Vitamin C (specifically from food sources) are:

  • For 0-6 months: 40 mg
  • 7-12 months 75 mg
  • 3 to 5 years 15 mg
  • 4-8 years 5-12 years
  • 9-13 years 9-13 years
  • 14-18 years, 75% for males, women 65 mg and 80 mg for pregnant women or lactating. 115 mg for those who are pregnant.
  • 19plus years Men over 19 years old: 90 mg and 75 mg in females and 85 mg if pregnant and lactating

Studies have proven that when you eat 30 to 180 mg per day, 70 to 90 percent of it is absorbed. However, when you consume over 1g/day, only 50% of it is absorbed.

Is Vitamin C Safe?

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, there is a small risk of toxic effects. If you consume excessive amounts of it, your body will typically eliminate the excess urine rather than cling to it.

A few studies suggest that excessive consumption of vitamin C may contribute to other health problems, such as an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases, excessive iron absorption as well as increased oxidative damage, and a higher likelihood of developing kidney stones. However, the studies were not conclusive and were conducted in vitro on test tubes rather than real individuals. The problem with the absorption of iron was seen only in people with hereditary hemochromatosis.

If you're going through chemotherapy or radiation treatments or are taking statins, you should consult a doctor before taking a vitamin C supplement.

Potential Drug Interactions

Vitamin C supplementation should generally be avoided if you're undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Research is mixed regarding the effects of antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin C, on treating cancer and its progression. So, if you're going through the various forms of treatment for cancer, ensure that you consult your doctor before taking a Vitamin C-based supplement.

If you're taking a statin, a medication typically employed to reduce cholesterol levels, you may want to hold off taking a vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C could decrease the effectiveness of statins by decreasing their positive effects on HDL cholesterol levels – the “good” form of cholesterol. Talk to your doctor before beginning the vitamin C supplement if you are taking statins.

What to Look For

If you are buying a supplement, we suggest using a third-party test option, as supplements aren't regulated by the FDA to ensure purity and effectiveness. Reliable third-party testing labs comprise USP, NSF, and ConsumerLab.com. If you are unsure, purchase at reputable brands and consult with a doctor before beginning any new supplement.

Can You Have Too Much Vitamin C?

Although the toxicity of vitamin C is uncommon, there are acceptable maximum limits (ULs) applicable to both supplementary and food varieties of vitamin C. The ULs are different according to age and can be described as follows:

  • 3 to 5 Years: 400 mg
  • 4-8 years 4-8 years: 650 mg
  • 9-13 years 9-13 years: 1200 mg
  • 14-18 years 14-18 years
  • 19plus years Age: 19+ years

Side Effects of Vitamin C

Although vitamin C can be considered safe, some adverse effects can result from excessive intake. This is usually the case when taking supplementation because supplements typically contain higher levels of vitamins than food items.

The potential side effects of this include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Other digestive problems

A Quick Review

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and a water-soluble vitamin. It plays a significant role in skin health by aiding collagen synthesis and guarding against damage caused by UV radiation. It also aids in promoting immune health and iron absorption. It might even decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Consuming food rich in vitamin C is generally safe. However, supplements could pose a risk for people taking statins or who are receiving radiation or chemotherapy. It's typically best to talk with a trusted health professional before starting an additional supplement.

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