- Most people know Vitamin C can help fight off the common cold.
- But did you know that Vitamin C can help support your body in a number of other ways?
- Check out our top 4 reasons to incorporate Vitamin C into your health routine.
Vitamin C has long been touted as one of the best micronutrients to defend and support our immune systems. Not only does it directly support cellular functions in the immune system, but it defends against pathogens that threaten the intestinal barrier itself. While most people know about the importance of Vitamin C for fighting off common colds, there is science that has shown it can help to support an array of other functions within the human body.
Let’s explore some of the additional health benefits of Vitamin C, and some fun ways to better incorporate it into your routine.
Vitamin C works to reduce free radical damage.
Every single day, you are inadvertently exposed to free radicals, which are reactive molecules that help to balance chemical processes in the body. They are naturally produced in our bodies, however excess exposure could effectively damage, or reduce the function of, healthy cells. Free radicals are great when they are in balance, but exposure to too many – which is the case for many people these days – can damage tissue and lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress means that the body is not properly detoxifying itself, which has its own host of negative impacts and implications, including disease.
Besides supplementing with Vitamin C, monitoring your exposure to free radicals can be important in reducing the harmful effects of it on your body. Reducing your consumption of processed meats – especially red meat – alcohol, and foods with high glycemic index can help restore your body to optimal function.
Vitamin C could reduce risk and symptoms of chronic disease.
Vitamin C already helps us to fend off infections, so it isn’t a far stretch to acknowledge that it has a strong case for support and protection from chronic inflammation and disease. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties and the way it battles free radicals, Vitamin C has shown long-term benefits of warding off chronic disease, namely heart disease. Studies show that regular Vitamin C consumption can boost antioxidant levels in the blood by up to 30%, which aids the body in fighting inflammatory responses.
Vitamin C can diminish allergy discomfort.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or, in some cases, a food. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn’t. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.
With regular Vitamin C helping your body to balance itself out and reduce inflammation, any symptoms you may have that result from allergies – including itchy or red skin, sinus pressure, headaches, and even mild airway irritation or closure – are likely to be less severe.
Vitamin C helps prevent iron deficiency
Iron is used to produce hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the tissues throughout our bodies. The majority of iron found in your natural diet is nonheme iron. While it provides the same types of health benefits as its heme counterparts, it must react with other compounds to produce the desired effects. The effectiveness of nonheme iron is greatly dependent on other foods in your diet.
Enter: Vitamin C. A healthy amount of Vitamin C in your system and diet has been shown to improve the absorption of nonheme iron. Consuming just 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by up to 67%. Achieving optimal percentages of iron in your system could hinge on something as simple as drinking a glass of 100% fruit juice with a meal.
Vitamin C can be enjoyed in many forms. Besides the aforementioned 100% (no sugar added) fruit juice option, ingesting it naturally through common fruits and vegetables like citrus, strawberries, tomatoes, green and red peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and leafy greens, there is also an abundance of it in guava, blackcurrants, rose hips, and chili peppers, among many other things.
People do tend to supplement with Vitamin C, especially during cold and flu season. Capsules, pills, powders, and tinctures in varying concentrations are readily available over-the-counter. Many people can experience stomach upset from vitamin C so top brands have released options that help deliver the nutrient without the stomach discomfort such as liposomal formulations and powders that can be mixed in with shakes and beverages.
With its proven immune function benefits, Vitamin C is projected to continue as a leading staple in medicine cabinets around the world. Common signs of Vitamin C deficiency include hair loss, swelling or bleeding of the gums or tooth decay, fatigue, unusual skin spots, and anemia.
Check out our top 7 essential supplements for a balanced lifestyle here.