One of the most well-known vitamins is vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid). The vitamin has gotten a lot of attention because of its immune-boosting properties. However, praising vitamin C’s capacity to reduce the duration of a common cold merely touches the surface of the vitamin’s role in the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, because this antioxidant isn’t produced by the body, it’s critical to get it through vitamin C–rich meals. “Red and green bell peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts are all high in vitamin C,” explains Tamar Samuels, RDN, a cofounder of Culina Health in New York City. According to the National Institutes of Health, adult women require 75 milligrammes (mg) of vitamin C per day, while adult men require 90 mg (NIH). The majority of Americans get enough of the vitamin from their food alone.
Here are some of the benefits of Vitamin C:
1. Enhances Brain Function: Vitamin C is important for neurotransmitter production and cognitive function, according to Samuels. According to the University of Queensland in Australia, neurotransmitters are vital for delivering messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Furthermore, higher vitamin C may be linked to improved brain function. Vitamin C concentrations were shown to be higher in cognitively intact research participants compared to those with impaired cognition, according to a comprehensive review published in September 2017 in Nutrients.
2. Stimulates Collagen Synthesis: According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin C is required for the manufacture of collagen, which is present in connective tissue throughout the body. “Adequate vitamin C levels are necessary for collagen production,” Samuels says. “Collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body and is essential for connective tissues such as those found in our organs, hair, skin, and nails.” Collagen is sometimes referred to as the skin’s anti-aging saviour by some health and beauty experts. Topically applying vitamin C to the skin resulted in enhanced collagen formation and younger-looking skin, according to a study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology in September 2015. Vitamin C aids wound healing by increasing collagen synthesis, according to Oregon State University.
3. Strengthens the Immune System: Vitamin C’s effect on the immune system is perhaps its most well-known advantage. Vitamin C was found to support the immune system in a review published in Nutrients in November 2017 by guarding against oxidative stress, assisting in microbial killing, and reducing the risk of tissue damage. A lack of this vitamin has been linked to an increased risk of infection. According to a previous assessment, stocking up on vitamin C after you start sniffling won’t prevent you from having a cold, but it might help you recover faster.
4. Its Antioxidant Properties Help Guard Against Chronic Disease: Vitamin C’s antioxidant capabilities are responsible for many of its health advantages. “Antioxidants function to neutralise free radicals, which are volatile and toxic molecules created in the body and cause cell and tissue damage,” Samuels explains. Antioxidants, according to the Mayo Clinic, help protect against serious health diseases including cancer and heart disease. More research, particularly with human participants, is needed to determine whether vitamin C can specifically prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
5. Vitamin C Combined With Iron Leads to Better Absorption: Vitamin C’s interaction with other vitamins and minerals in the body, such as iron, provides another benefit. According to the National Institutes of Health, iron facilitates appropriate growth and development, aids the body’s ability to distribute oxygen throughout the body, and aids the production of certain hormones. According to Harvard Health Publishing, nonheme iron (the form of iron found in plants) can be difficult for the body to absorb, but eating vitamin C (and, ideally, heme iron, which is found in meat and seafood) at the same time as nonheme iron improves absorption.