What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, is an essential anti-oxidant and is necessary for the production of collagen, connective tissue found in skin, bone, ligaments and blood vessels. It performs a wide range of functions for your body, such as:
- Boosts your immune system — Vitamin C can make your body more resistant to bacteria, viruses, and fungi, increasing your natural defenses against disease and infections. The vitamin can even help to reduce the symptoms of a common cold, as well as control allergies by reducing histamines.
- Speeds up healing — Vitamin C is a natural wound healer. Your skin needs Vitamin C in order to produce collagen, the protein that keeps your skin healthy and strong. The more Vitamin C you give your body, the faster it can repair damage to connective tissue–including your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and skin.
- Fights cholesterol — Did you know that Vitamin C can reduce cholesterol levels by increasing the production of bile salts? Bile salts are much easier for your body to get rid of than cholesterol.
- Improves heart function — Not only will Vitamin C help to reduce cholesterol levels, but it will prevent cholesterol buildup in the arteries and keep your heart functioning well. Vitamin C also helps to increase vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels), reducing your risk of blockages that can lead to congestive heart failure. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C can also help to reduce free radical damage to the heart, preventing heart attacks and strokes.
- Increases effectiveness of cancer treatments — While Vitamin C alone may not be enough to cure cancer, it can help to improve the effectiveness of cancer-killing chemotherapy drugs. The vitamin will even help to target the cancer cells specifically, all while protecting healthy body cells from being damaged. After the cancer treatment is done, it will boost your immunity and protect you from infections.
- Regulates blood sugar — For those suffering from diabetes, Vitamin C can be a godsend. Vitamin C can help to regulate blood sugar levels, preventing the spikes and crashes that lead to diabetes and insulin resistance.
- Reduces the development of neurological disorders — Scientists have discovered that people with dementia and Alzheimer’s tend to have low levels of Vitamin C, lycopene, and beta-carotene in their bloodstream. This suggests that Vitamin C (and the other antioxidants) may help to reduce the risk of these neurological disorders.
- Improves eye health — Did you know that Vitamin C may be able to help reduce the risk of cataracts? Vitamin C will improve your vision and provide the antioxidants needed to prevent the free radical damage caused by direct exposure to sunlight.
How Much Vitamin C Do I Need?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is subject to ongoing debate. In the US, it currently stands at 60mg per day. Vitamin C deficiency is characterized by:
- easy bruising
- swollen and bleeding gums
- wounds that have trouble healing
The problem with this vitamin is that it’s water-soluble, meaning your body cannot store it. This means you have to consume Vitamin C foods every day in order to provide your body with the necessary vitamins. Thankfully, there are A LOT of Vitamin C rich food sources:
Note: Smokers are at a risk for vitamin C deficiency and require more of a daily intake than non-smokers.
Excessive Vitamin C intake can cause the following problems:
• kidney stones
Daily excesses are excreted as waste and the body will require more supplementation the following day.