Every day, we are bombarded with new claims about the latest health trend. But how do you know what to believe? How can you tell if a vitamin or supplement is just hype or has legitimate benefits? While some of these trends come and go, you can always count on the classic vitamins. These vitamins will give you some of the most essential things you need; especially Vitamin C! Here’s everything there is to know about Vitamin C. Including why it’s one of the most important vitamins for your overall health!
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in many functions in the body, including tissue growth and repair, immune function, and iron absorption. This essential vitamin also helps to form collagen. Which strengthens your blood vessels and bones, keeps tissues healthy, and aids in wound healing. In addition, vitamin C plays a role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and certain hormones. Which can help regulate energy production and blood sugar levels.
The best way to get vitamin C in your diet is through a variety of fresh produce. Foods high in this nutrient include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, strawberries, and raspberries. However, there are other ways to get the daily dose that you may not have considered! For example, vitamin C can be found in certain meats such as liver and oysters and in broccoli and brussel sprouts. You can also take a vitamin C supplements. However, be sure to read the label and understand the added ingredients and the suggested serving size.
Different Forms Of Vitamin C
There are actually 16 forms of Vitamin C that exist! The classic form of Vitamin C is Ascorbic Acid which is the purest form of Vitamin C and is found in most supplements. However, there are other types which include:
Sodium Ascorbate, Ester-C, Calcium Ascorbate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP), Potassium Ascorbyl Phosphate (KAP), L-Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Dipalmitate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (SSL), Ferulic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Threonine-Lysine-Tocopherol Complex (TTC), Amorphous Ascorbic Acid, and Aescin.
The Difference Between Types Of Vitamin C
Each type of Vitamin C has a different shape and size. Which is why some forms are more bioavailable than others. For example, Ester-C contains calcium ascorbate and calcium carbonate. These will be broken down into ascorbic acid and then freely available to the body. However, other types like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate require the liver to break it down. In order to free up the ascorbic acid for use in the body.
How Much Vitamin C You Should Have At Your Age
Depending on your age and what is happening in your life, the amount of vitamin C you should get each day can vary. Here are the guidelines for how much vitamin C you should have each day. (mg=Milligrams)
- Ages 0-6 months: 40 mg
- ages 7-12 months: 50mg
- ages 1-3 years old: 15mg
- Ages 4-8 years old: 25 mg
- 9-13 years old: 45 mg
- 14-18 years old: 75mg
- 19+ years old males: 90mg
- 19+ years old females: 75mg
- Pregnant Women: 85mg
- Smokers: 120mg
Vitamin C is Important To Skin Health
Vitamin C is critical for keeping your skin healthy. The epidermis, or the outermost layer of the skin, contains cells that are rich in vitamin C, which is responsible for producing collagen fibers required to maintain a strong supportive network structure required for the underlying support structure of the skin. Vitamin C has also been shown to increase our body’s ability to produce natural antioxidants, helping keep our skin healthy and any damage from free radicals at bay.
Vitamin C Can Improve Eye Health
In addition to being essential for your skin’s health, Vitamin C is also important for eye health. The eye contains a high concentration of vitamin C, which helps protect the retina from oxidative damage. Vitamin C is also required for the synthesis of collagen, which holds your eye tissues in place. Vitamin C has been shown to be able to significantly boost your eye’s ability to fight against oxidative stress and free radicals.
Vitamin C Is Good For Joints
The elements that makeup cartilage, a material that gives our joints flexibility and mobility, contain a high concentration of Vitamin C. In fact, they’ve been found to have up to ten times as much as the surrounding tissue! Unfortunately, as we age, this cartilage begins to degenerate, which can cause pain and stiffness in our joints. Luckily for us, Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis, which is critical in the repair of cartilage, allowing our joints to function properly. This is especially important for athletes who are very active or have an existing condition that may be causing pain in their joints.
Vitamin C Is Important For Strong Bones
Another essential health benefit of Vitamin C is the way it helps build strong bones. Bones are composed of calcium and collagen, which both contain vitamin C. Vitamin C also encourages the absorption of dietary calcium to increase bone mineral density. This is because Vitamin C increases alkaline phosphatase activity, which promotes top-up biosynthesis in bones! Supplementing with Vitamin C has also been found to reduce age-related bone loss.
Vitamin C Is Good For Your Memory
Vitamin C is good for more than just your skin and bones! It can help keep your memory sharp as you age, too. Age-related cognitive decline may be the result of oxidative damage that occurs in our brain’s hippocampus region, leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Fortunately for us, Vitamin C has been shown to be able to prevent this oxidative damage. It is especially important (and perhaps more critical) for older adults who are at an increased risk of developing age-related dementia. This study showed that individuals taking vitamin C supplements, specifically 500mg, had a higher score on their cognitive test than those taking placebos.
Vitamin C Is Good For Heart Health
As we age, our body’s ability to make collagen naturally decreases. This can lead to weakened blood vessels, which increases the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues. Fortunately for us, Vitamin C has been shown to be able to improve collagen synthesis and protect collagen from breaking down. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C can reduce levels of arterial plaque buildup by up to 50%, which is directly correlated with cardiovascular disease risk.
Vitamin C Improves Digestive Health
As we get older, our body’s ability to absorb nutrients from our food declines. This can lead to anemia, which is basically when you have too few red blood cells. Vitamin C’s role in collagen synthesis also makes it very important for digestive health by regulating iron absorption since iron requires the formation of heme molecules through this process!
Vitamin C Helps To Fight Against Depression
Not only is Vitamin C good for your physical health, but it’s also very important for your mental and emotional well-being. It has been shown to help manage the production of stress hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for mood regulation. These same studies also found that those who were administered higher doses of Vitamin C had a greater improvement in their mood than those given placebos.
Vitamin C Can Help Fight Cancer
Another reason Vitamin C is good for you is that it helps fight against cancer. This is especially true for bladder, pancreatic, stomach, and ovarian cancers by making chemotherapy more effective! Studies have shown that the positive effects of chemotherapy are enhanced when Vitamin C is present in the body. Researchers have also found that high doses of Vitamin C can help to control cancer cell growth by reducing HIF-1a protein levels. A reduction in these proteins means a lower risk of tumors forming and spreading throughout your body! Another study showed that for pancreatic cancer, those individuals who were administered Vitamin C supplements had a 63% decrease in their risk of death.
Vitamin C Is Good For Your Teeth
As we age, our teeth and gums become more fragile because of reduced collagen synthesis. Vitamin C can help to prevent those issues by protecting your teeth and strengthening your gums. However, this is especially important for elderly individuals who may be at a higher risk of experiencing dental cavities or issues with receding gums. Studies have shown that Vitamin C can prevent the onset of gingivitis by increasing collagen synthesis in your gum tissues.
Vitamin C Can Help Improve Your Immunity
By helping to naturally boost your immunity, Vitamin C can help ward off illness! This is especially important for elderly individuals. Who are more likely to become sick due to their weakened immune systems. Studies have shown that high doses of Vitamin C are able to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections by up to 50%. These studies also showed that Vitamin C was just as effective as common cold medications.
Vitamin C Can Help Other Nutrients Work Better In Your Body
If you’re not getting the recommended amount of Vitamin C, it can be difficult for your body to absorb other nutrients like iron. This is because Vitamin C’s role in collagen synthesis helps regulate the absorption process! Iron-deficiency anemia has been shown to occur when there are insufficient amounts of Vitamin C present in the body. Vitamin C also helps other nutrients such as beta-carotene to be absorbed by the body because it helps convert them into Vitamin A, which is important for eye health!
Vitamin C Can Help You Combat Stress
We all know that Vitamin C is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. However, it can also be extremely effective when it comes to managing stress! The synthesis of serotonin in the brain requires Vitamin C. Since this neurotransmitter is responsible for mood regulation. Studies have shown that Vitamin C intake reduces the production of cortisol. Which is released when you’re feeling stressed. Other studies have shown that Vitamin C can help to increase the amount of serotonin available in the synaptic gap, which allows for better communication between brain cells!
Negatives Of Vitamin C
While Vitamin C is known for its many health benefits, too much of a good thing isn’t always the best. Research shows that at high doses – > 2g/day – Vitamin C has been shown to cause cell damage if taken over long periods. In addition, at high doses, Vitamin C can also cause nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. However, there are ways you can combat these negative effects by taking a supplement called Dihydroquercetin along with your daily dose of Vitamin C! This compound helps to improve the absorption of Vitamin C in your body. While also keeping it from being broken down too quickly in your liver.
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients in your body because it helps to protect against free radical damage. In addition, it can improve immunity, prevent heart disease, improve dental health, and much more! With all of Vitamin C’s benefits, it’s no wonder that it is one of the most popular antioxidants in supplements. So make sure that you are taking in at least the RDI of Vitamin C every day! For more information about whether you are getting all your needed daily vitamin C, you can speak with your doctor about getting tested for vitamin C deficiency!