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6 Scientific Health Benefits of Vitamin C

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Vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is one of the most talked about vitamins. The nutrient takes on a special charge because of its immune-boosting potential. But touting vitamin C's ability to shorten the common cold actually negates vitamin C's role and its role in the body.

This antioxidant is not naturally made by the body, so it is crucial to obtain it from vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C is found in a variety of foods, including red and green peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts.

The recommendation is 75 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C per day for adult women and 90 mg for adult men, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in America. Most people typically get enough of the nutrient through diet alone.

We list the 6 benefits of having enough Vitamin C in your body.

Vitamin C strengthens the immune system

Perhaps the best-known benefit of vitamin C is the positive effect it has on the immune system. In previous research, vitamin C has been shown to support the immune system by protecting against oxidative stress, to help kill bacteria and reduce the chance of tissue damage. Deficiency of this vitamin has been shown to increase the rate of infections. Replenishing your vitamin C once you start sniffling is unlikely to stop you from catching a cold, but it can help you recover a little faster.

Vitamin C's Antioxidant Properties Help Protect Against Chronic Disease

Many of the benefits of vitamin C can be traced back to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, which are volatile and harmful substances produced in the body that cause damage to cells and tissues. Antioxidants can protect against the development of serious health problems, such as cancer or heart disease. However, more studies are needed — especially those involving human participants — to show whether vitamin C can specifically prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin C plays a role for improved brain function

Vitamin C also plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis and cognitive function. Neurotransmitters are important for sending messages from the brain to the rest of the body, according to the University of Queensland in Australia. And more vitamin C may be linked to increased brain function. Previous research published in 2017 found higher vitamin C concentrations in cognitively intact study participants compared to those with impaired cognition.

Vitamin C also improves cognitive skills (fig.)
Vitamin C also improves cognitive skills (fig.)

Vitamin C in combination with iron leads to better absorption

Another plus of vitamin C is its interaction with other vitamins and minerals in the body, such as iron. Iron supports proper growth and development, helps the body supply oxygen throughout the body, and helps make certain hormones. Non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plants, can be difficult for the body to absorb, but eating vitamin C (and ideally heme iron, which is often found in meat and seafood) at the same time as non-heme iron leads to better absorption.

Antioxidant-rich vitamin C protects the eyes

Several experts and organizations specializing in human eyes note that vitamin C may lower the risk of developing cataracts and also help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In particular, previous research has found that taking 500 mg per day as part of a daily supplement slowed the progression of the disease in people with moderate AMD, likely because of its antioxidant properties. Nevertheless, it is always recommended to consult your eye doctor or doctor before taking a supplement for a long time.

Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis

The body depends on vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen, which is found in connective tissue around the body, according to the NIH. Adequate levels of vitamin C are essential for collagen production. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and plays a crucial role in connective tissues such as those in our organs and of course our hair, skin and nails.

You may know collagen as the savior against skin aging, as some health and beauty experts put it. One study found that topical application of vitamin C to the skin led to increased collagen production and younger-looking skin. The increased collagen synthesis also means that vitamin C helps wounds to heal.

Finally about Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays an important role in many processes in the human body, from improving skin health to lowering the risk of stroke. Most people will meet their daily needs without much effort, provided they eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Sources including EverydayHealth (link), Insider (link), MedicalNewsToday (link), RXList (link)


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