Benefits of Vitamin C: The Ultimate Vitamin!
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the most widely known and used nutritional supplement. This vitamin is known for its immune boosting effects, but vitamin C has a number of other properties that might surprise you. It is involved in most metabolic functions of the body, including tissue growth and repair and healthy gums. Vitamin C is also required for healthy adrenal function, which helps the body cope with stress.
This essential vitamin plays an important role in transporting haemoglobin around the body, and allowing the body to absorb iron from foods.
A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy. This disease causes poor wound healing, bleeding gums, weakness and weak blood vessels. Scurvy has also been linked with heart disease. Luckily, this disease is not very common, although a healthy diet and supplementation are essential to prevent scurvy.
Vitamin C sales are generally at their highest in the autumn and winter months. This is partly down to the immune boosting effects and the wide spread marketing by vitamin companies. There is no harm in taking extra vitamin C throughout the winter months, but there is no clear evidence that suggests that this vitamin can prevent colds. Vitamin C can however shorten the duration of a cold. Studies have shown that a dose of 1000mg vitamin C a day can shorten the duration of colds.
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we have at our disposal. This vitamin is our main water soluble antioxidant, and can help to fight damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals have been linked with a number of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis. Vitamin C can help to provide protection against these illnesses by neutralising the free radicals.
This vitamin works synergistically with vitamin E. These two vitamins work more effectively when taken together as opposed to taken individually. This effect makes them very powerful antioxidants as vitamin E is fat soluble and vitamin C is water soluble. This results in antioxidant action in both water soluble and fat soluble cells.
A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to heart disease. Several studies have shown that a lack of vitamin C is linked to heart attacks.
Vitamin C is also known to reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol which prevents artherosclerosis (blocking of arteries). This vitamin also increases levels of “good” cholesterol and lowers high blood pressure.
Vitamin C has also been shown to effective in reducing the symptoms of asthma. Studies have shown that vitamin C supplements helped to reduce symptoms of asthma.
Due to its powerful antioxidant action, vitamin C is a very effective anti-aging supplement.
How much should I take?
Most nutritionists recommend a dose of between 100mg – 500mg a day. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a higher risk of heart disease and poor general health.
If you have a cold or sore throat, a dose of 1000mg a day is recommended to speed up the healing process.
Vitamin C is available in many foods:
Green leafy vegetables
Berries: e.g. strawberries, cherries, blueberries
A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice can provide you with over 100mg of vitamin C. This is half of your daily recommended amount!
If your diet is rich and varied in the foods mentioned above, you will not need to supplement your diet with a vitamin C tablet.
Vitamin C levels are reduced by alcohol, oral contraceptives, steroids and smoking. Smokers should be taking a daily dose of vitamin C (200mg).