In this article, we would like to stress the importance of meeting your daily value of vitamin C by highlighting all the important functions and health benefits it provides for the body. Although vitamin C may not protect you from the flu, it can do wonders for your immune system, heart, skin, and the nervous system.
These are some of the scientifically proven health benefits of vitamin C:
1. Slows Down Cognitive Decline
Even short-term vitamin C deficiency is famously associated with brain fog and memory problems, and scientists believe this is due to oxidative stress of your central nervous system. Vitamin C belongs to the class of chemicals called antioxidants, the major role of which is to prevent oxidative stress.
In fact, vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants known, and luckily, one of the most common ones. Furthermore, it was found that people who suffer from memory problems and dementia often have low levels of vitamin C in their blood, which further accentuates the crucial role of this vitamin for our memory and thinking.
2. Boosts Collagen
You may be familiar with collagen production if you have an interest in anti-aging skin care, as this compound gives our skin a youthful bounce and tautness. In fact, the older we get, the less collagen our skin produces, and so we get wrinkles. But collagen is important for more than just skin health, it plays a significant role in healing our bones, cartilage, and skin, which is also why you might find that with age, your wounds may heal slower.
Vitamin C is one of the few compounds in the body that can boost collagen production, which is why it is a key ingredient in many anti-aging skin care products and the doctor may prescribe you with a vitamin C supplement after traumatic injuries.
3. Prevents Heart Disease
The recommended amount of vitamin C you should consume every day is 500 mg a day, which is equal to about 1 glass of orange juice or a ½ cup of fresh red bell peppers. Those who meet this daily value have been found in several studies to have a lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and lower levels of bad cholesterol.
One study even found that people with the highest blood concentrations of vitamin C were 42% less likely to get a stroke than those with lower-than-normal levels. And it didn’t matter if they got their vitamin C from a supplement or food either.
4. Helps You Avoid Complications of a Cold
Eating more vitamin C during flu season may not protect you from a cold, but it may lower your risk of developing complications even if you end up getting the flu. Don’t rush to the pharmacy for a supplement just yet, though, as too much vitamin C may cause some side effects, such as nausea and diarrhea.
Instead, most medical professionals and nutritionists agree that it’s best to get your vitamin C from food, especially since it’s quite easy, as so many different foods contain this vitamin.
5. Prevents Gout Attacks
Gout is a very painful condition that affects around 4% of people in the world. It’s a type of rheumatoid arthritis, and the inflammation in the joints, most commonly in the extremities, is caused by uric acid crystals forming in the joints and causing excruciating pain attacks. These crystals form when there is too much uric acid in the blood, and the body tries to get rid of it by depositing it in your joints and muscles.
One way to lower the level of uric acid in the blood, thus preventing gout and the pain that comes with it is by, you guessed it, consuming enough vitamin C. A 20 year long study that looked at more than 50.000 participants even showed that high vitamin C levels were associated with a 44% lower chance of developing gout.
6. Prevents Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency is a common and very dangerous condition, which can ultimately lead to a disease called iron deficiency anemia where low iron blood counts prevent the formation of new red blood cells and make these cells worse at carrying oxygen to the different cells of the body. This condition manifests itself through the symptoms you can see on the picture below.
But what’s the link between iron deficiency and vitamin C, you might ask? Well, vitamin C is necessary for iron absorption in the body, and it’s often the case that low iron counts are caused by low vitamin C counts. This way, optimal levels of vitamin C promote the absorption of iron and prevent iron deficiency.
7. Urges the Production of White Blood Cells
Yet another way vitamin C influences our blood and immune system is by promoting the formation of white blood cells, the guards of our body that fight off infections. White blood cells comprise less than 1% of our blood, but they come in various forms, which are illustrated in the picture below.
Vitamin C was proven to help form new lymphocytes and phagocytes, which are immune cells that promote healing and fight infection. Apart from that, vitamin C helps protect all white blood cells from getting damaged by free radicals. Both ways help strengthen your immune system and make you ready to ward off any infections.
8. Improves Degenerative Diseases
Some of the most dangerous and most debilitating conditions are chronic. Chronic conditions come in very different forms, and most of us suffer from at least one degenerative illness that worsens with age. Arthritis, diabetes, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis and asthma are all examples of such conditions, and often, we are forced to live with these conditions as they are difficult or impossible to treat.
If you are suffering from a degenerative disease, it’s especially important for you to include a lot of antioxidants in your diet, as they can prevent the free radical damage that can really worsen your condition. Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants, with studies showing that adequate vitamin C levels can raise your blood antioxidant levels by as much as 30%.