Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, gets a lot of attention, and perhaps rightly so. It is one of the more available vitamins for most people around the world, and between news reports of its benefits and advice from friends and family, it’s no wonder this citrus vitamin is always a best seller and at the top of our “most popular” nutrition supplement list.
Benefits of Vitamin C
- Helps minimize the symptoms and duration of colds
- Helps prevent and lessen seasonal allergies
- Improves immune support
- Protects skin from sun exposure and UV rays
- Promotes faster wound healing and recovery from burns
Scientifically controlled studies using vitamin C for colds show that it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, acting as a natural antihistamine. The vitamin may be useful for allergy control for the same reason: It may reduce histamine levels. By giving the immune system one of the important nutrients it needs, extra vitamin C can often shorten the duration of the cold as well. However, studies have been unable to prove that mega doses of the vitamin can actually prevent the common cold.
As an important factor in collagen production, vitamin C is often used in wound healing of all types. From cuts and broken bones to burns and recovery from surgical wounds, vitamin C taken orally helps wounds heal faster and better. Applied topically, vitamin C may protect the skin from free radical damage after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Vitamin C benefits are often touted for cancer prevention. Its antioxidant properties protect cells and their DNA from damage and mutation. It supports the body’s immune system, the first line of defense against cancer, and prevents certain cancer-causing compounds from forming in the body. It is believed that Vitamin C may reduce the risk of getting almost all types of cancer. It appears that this nutrient doesn’t directly attack cancer that has already occurred, but it helps keep the immune system nourished, enabling it to battle the cancer.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C may help prevent cataracts — the clouding of the lens of the eye that can lead to blindness in older adults. The lens needs a lot of vitamin C to counteract all the free radicals that form as a result of sunlight on the eye. Vitamin C is concentrated in the lens. When there’s plenty vitamin C floating through your system, it’s easy for the body to pull it out of your blood and direct it into the lens, protecting it from damage. It’s possible that 1,000 mg per day of vitamin C might stop cataracts in their tracks and possibly improve vision.
As with the other antioxidants, vitamin C may help prevent heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging artery walls, which could lead to plaque formation. This nutrient also keeps cholesterol in the bloodstream from oxidizing, another early step in the progression towards heart disease and stroke. Vitamin C may help people who have marginal vitamin C status obtain more favorable blood cholesterol levels. High blood pressure may also improve with regular use of this vitamin. Vitamin C may be an inexpensive and easy way to lower one’s risk of heart disease and strokes.
Asthmatics tend to have higher needs for vitamin C because of its antioxidant function in the lungs and airways. Doses of 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day improve asthmatic symptoms and lessen the body’s production of histamine, which contributes to inflammation.
People with diabetes may also benefit from extra vitamin C. This nutrient can help regulate blood sugar levels. Since insulin helps vitamin C, as well as glucose, get into cells, people with diabetes may not have enough vitamin C inside many of their cells. Just like glucose, vitamin C can’t do its work if it’s not inside of a cell. Supplementing vitamin C can force it into body cells, where it may help protect against the many complications of diabetes.
A dose of 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day drives down glycosylated hemoglobin levels. This means that glucose molecules don’t attach to blood cells. Glucose adhering to red blood cells is responsible for many diabetic complications such as poor wound healing, problems with capillaries, and sluggish circulation.
These are just some of the conditions in which vitamin C may provide healthy results.
Fortunately, Vitamin C is abundant in many food sources, to find out which are your best bets check out Foods That Contain Vitamin C.
If you’re not fond of fruits and vegetables, but still want to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C, contact The Compounding Pharmacy of Beverly Hills to find out which Vitamin C supplement is right for you.