7 Ways Vitamin C Provides Benefits To Your Body
Vitamin C has been shown to provide many health benefits, including reducing blood pressure levels, increasing antioxidant levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, improving iron absorption, protecting against gout, reducing the risk of dementia and boosting the immune system.
It is essential, not only because of those benefits, but because the body is not able to produce it. Taking a whole food vitamin c supplement is a simple way to get more vitamin C if you aren't able to get enough from your diet.
Here Are 7 Ways Vitamin C Provides Benefits To Your Body:
1. Strong Antioxidant That Can Reduce Your Risk for Chronic Disease
- Vitamin C is a very strong antioxidant that can help your body to naturally defend itself against many problems.
- Antioxidants have a positive effect on the immune system. They protect the cells in the body from molecules that are known as free radicals.
- The accumulation of free radicals can promote a problem known as oxidative stress. Many chronic diseases have been linked to that difficulty.
- Studies have consistently shown that getting more vitamin C in your diet can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%. In doing so, it helps your body to fight inflammation.1
2. Can Help with High Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure is a problem experienced by approximately one out of every three American adults. It puts you at risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death around the world.
- Many studies have shown that vitamin C can help to lower blood pressure, regardless of whether you have high blood pressure or not.
- One animal study showed that a vitamin C supplement help the blood vessels to relax that take blood away from the heart. In turn, this reduced blood pressure levels.2
- When analyzing 29 human studies, it was found that the vitamin C supplement also provided benefits. The average reduction in systolic blood pressure was 3.84 mmHg. Diastolic blood pressure was also reduced by 1.48 mmHg in healthy adults.
- When the adults had existing high blood pressure, supplementing with vitamin C showed even further benefits. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by 4.85 mmHg and diastolic by 1.67 mmHg. Those are average numbers.3
3. Fights Risk of Heart Disease
- Around the world, heart disease remains the leading cause of death.
- There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of experiencing a problem with heart disease. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol are some of those risk factors.
- Those factors may be reduced with the use of Vitamin C and therefore, it can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- In an analysis of nine different studies that included 293,172 participants over 10 years, it was found that when people took a minimum of 700 mg of vitamin C every day, they reduced the risk of heart disease by 25%. That group was compared with another group that did not take vitamin C.4
- On a basic level, it could be said that a minimum of 500 mg of vitamin C every day could lower your risk of heart disease.
4. May Reduce Blood Uric Acid and Prevent Gout Attacks
- Approximately 4% of the adult population in the United States suffers from a type of arthritis that is known as gout.
- It involves the inflammation of the joints and it is incredibly painful. The most common joint that is affected is where the big toe meets the foot. Some of the most common symptoms of gout include swelling and sudden, severe pain attacks.
- Gout symptoms tend to be a problem when too much uric acid builds up in the blood. The body produces uric acid as a waste product. When it is at high levels, it could crystallize and deposit in those joints.
- One study of 1387 men found that taking vitamin C could significantly lower your levels of uric acid. That effect was much more pronounced in the group that took the highest levels of vitamin C.5
- In another study, 46,994 healthy men were followed over 24 years in another study. This was also to see the connection between vitamin C intake and the development of gout. Those who took a vitamin C supplement were 44% less likely to experience gout.6
5. Prevents Iron Deficiencies by Improving How Iron Is Absorbed
- Iron produces many beneficial functions in the human body. It is essential for the formation of red blood cells and how oxygen is transported through the body.
- Supplementing with vitamin C may help to improve how iron is absorbed from your diet. Vitamin C helps to convert iron that is not properly absorbed. As an example, vitamin C can convert the iron that is not easily absorbed from plant-based foods into a type that is easier for the body to absorb.
- Individuals who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet may benefit, as they don't have a meat source that provides much of the iron necessary in our diet.
- In one study, 65 children who suffered from mild iron deficiency anemia were provided with a vitamin C supplement and it was discovered that the anemia was benefited by using the supplement.7
6. Helps with the Function of White Blood Cells
- Most people take vitamin C to improve their immune system. In fact, vitamin C is imperative for many parts of the immune system.
- Vitamin C helps the body produce white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes. Those cells help the body to fight off infection.
- In addition, vitamin C helps the function of white blood cells so they are not damaged by harmful molecules, including free radicals.
- Finally, the skin's defense system relies on vitamin C. It is transported to the skin and it performs beneficial tasks as an antioxidant to strengthen the barrier of the skin.
- Some studies have also shown that vitamin C may help to quicken wound healing.8
- The opposite also seems to be true. Low vitamin C levels have been associated with poor health. For example, those who have pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels. Taking vitamin C supplements can shorten the recovery time.9
7. Vitamin C Protects Memory and Thinking As You Get Older
- Most people are familiar with the term, 'dementia'. It is actually a broad term that describes the symptoms of low memory and cognitive abilities. Approximately 35 million people are affected by this problem worldwide and it is more common in older adults.
- Vitamin C is known as a potent antioxidant. When you have low levels of vitamin C, it may impair your ability to remember and think clearly.10
- A number of studies have also shown that people who have dementia also likely have low vitamin C levels. Taking vitamin C supplements or increasing your vitamin C intake from your diet may protect your memory and thinking ability as you get older.11
References: 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12805247, Effect of five-year supplementation of vitamin C on serum vitamin C concentration and consumption of vegetables and fruits in middle-aged Japanese: a randomized controlled trial, 2003 Jun;22(3):208-16 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12564647, Vitamin C lowers blood pressure and alters vascular responsiveness in salt-induced hypertension, 2002 Dec;80(12):1199-202 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22492364, Effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, 2012 May;95(5):1079-88. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.027995. Epub 2012 Apr 4 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15585762, Antioxidant vitamins and coronary heart disease risk: a pooled analysis of 9 cohorts, 2004 Dec;80(6):1508-20 5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18464304, Vitamin C intake and serum uric acid concentration in men, 2008 Sep;35(9):1853-8. Epub 2008 May 1 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19273781, Vitamin C intake and the risk of gout in men: a prospective study, 2009 Mar 9;169(5):502-7. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.606 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1642785, Effect of vitamin C supplementations on iron deficiency anemia in Chinese children, 1992 Jun;5(2):125-9 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16297506, Treatment with supplementary arginine, vitamin C and zinc in patients with pressure ulcers: a randomised controlled trial, 2005 Dec;24(6):979-87. Epub 2005 Nov 15 9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15139458, Ascorbic acid in blood serum of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and pneumonia, 2004 Feb;8(2):263-6 10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6842805/, Association between nutritional status and cognitive functioning in a healthy elderly population, 1983 Jun 3;249(21):2917-21 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22366772, A critical review of vitamin C for the prevention of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, 2012;29(4):711-26. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-111853