Vitamin C: What Is It, And Why Do We Need It?

Updated: Jan 18

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for good health. It assists in the formation and maintenance of bones, skin, and blood vessels.


Several foods contain vitamin C naturally, such as fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C may also be found in supplements. Ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, and L-ascorbate are the other names for vitamin C.


In this article we’ll be looking at why we need vitamin C, how much we need, and where to get it.


Fruit Orange Vitamin C Tablets

The Importance Of Vitamin C


To maintain adequate levels of vitamin C, one needs to consume food that contains it every day. Vitamin C is water soluble, so the body does not store it. Vitamin C has several functions in the body, including:

  • Helping to produce collagen, L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitters. As an antioxidant, it helps remove free radicals from the body.

  • Increases the body's ability to absorb iron

  • Boosts the immune system

  • Aids the healing process for wounds


ROS, such as free radicals, are generated by natural bodily processes, pollution, and other factors. They can lead to oxidative stress, which also damages cells. It is believed that vitamin C's antioxidant properties can help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Vitamin C is required by the body to produce collagen, which is one of the main components of connective tissue and makes up about one to two percent of muscle tissue.



The following fibrous tissues contain collagen:

  • skin

  • cartilage

  • Tendons

  • bones

  • the gut

  • the cornea

  • ligaments

  • blood vessels

  • Low vitamin C levels in the body can cause scurvy. Scurvy can cause swollen joints, bleeding gums, loose teeth, fatigue, and anaemia.


The Benefits Of Vitamin C


Vitamin C may provide the following benefits.


Allergies

The immune system responds to an allergic reaction by triggering an inflammatory response, which can cause symptoms such as swelling and hives. As a result, the body produces ROS, which can lead to oxidative stress. In a study from 2018, researchers observed the severity of symptoms in 71 people with skin or respiratory allergies who received various doses of intravenous vitamin C. They concluded that high dosages of vitamin C may alleviate allergy symptoms.


Also, low vitamin C levels were found to be common among allergy sufferers.


Cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular health may benefit from vitamin C for several reasons. According to studies, it may:


  • Contain antioxidants

  • Increase blood vessel diameter

  • Boost nitric oxide production

  • Decrease plaque instability in atherosclerosis


Although taking supplements may promote heart health, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that they will.


Wound healing

Vitamin C is found in the body's skin, muscles, and other tissues. A low intake of vitamin C can result in slower wound healing, because collagen production is reduced.


A healthcare professional may recommend certain treatment options during recovery

Trusted Source supplements for people with low vitamin C levels.


Diabetes

Based on a 2019 study by Trusted Source, 31 people aged 60 and older were assessed to see if taking vitamin C supplements affected their glucose levels after eating. The participants' glucose levels and blood pressure improved more after taking supplements for four months than after taking a placebo. This indicates that vitamin C might one day be utilized as a diabetes treatment.


Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration

Taking vitamin C may help lower the risk of cataracts and slow aging-related macular degeneration. However, more research needs to be conducted. The antioxidant activity of vitamin C may contribute to benefits in both conditions because oxidative stress is a factor in both.


Anaemia

Some healthcare professionals recommend taking vitamin C along with iron tablets in order to improve iron absorption in patients with iron deficiency anaemia. In a study published in 2020, Trusted Source examined data on 432 people who were taking iron supplements for anaemia. A few of the patients took vitamin C with the iron supplement; others didn't.


It appears, however, that vitamin C supplementation is not necessary to achieve these results.


Pollution

People's health can be negatively affected by air pollution, which contains a variety of substances and chemicals. Researchers at Trusted Source have suggested that a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E may reduce asthma symptoms and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms.


Motion sickness

In a study conducted by Trusted Source, 70 subjects took vitamin C or a placebo, then spent 20 minutes on a life raft in a wave pool. Subjects who consumed vitamin C experienced less seasickness.

Can Vitamin C Treat A Common Cold?


Vitamin C is often believed to cure the common cold, but research has not confirmed this. Taking doses of 200 milligrams (mg) or more daily, however, may be beneficial for people who:

  • exercise intensely

  • are exposed to cold temperatures

  • are deficient in vitamin C (due to smoking, etc.)


Where To Find Vitamin C


A fresh fruit or vegetable is the best source of vitamin C. However, cooking these foods in heated or boiling water can destroy some vitamin C content, so it's best to eat them raw.


Great sources of Vitamin C includes:

  • strawberries

  • red and green peppers

  • oranges and orange juice

  • tomatoes

  • grapefruit

  • potatoes

  • green peas

  • kiwifruit

  • spinach and other green, leafy vegetables




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