Vitamin C: Definition and Benefits
It has been understood for decades that adequate absorption of vitamin C is imperative to good health. Found in food, dietary supplements, and certain cosmetics, this essential vitamin can be taken by mouth or through injection. Although some of the health benefits are still being researched, experts agree that improper amounts of vitamin C in the body can be devastating.
What Is Vitamin C?
Often referred to as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an important vitamin found in many types of food such as kale, kiwi, broccoli, oranges, bell peppers, etc. This water-soluble vitamin is a safe and mandatory nutrient for humans and animals. As a powerful antioxidant, evidence has shown that the disease scurvy is both treated and prevented by adequate consumption of this vitamin. Unfortunately, the human body cannot produce its own vitamin C, thus it must be consumed via food or supplements.
The Top 12 Health Benefits
While research has shown that the consumption of vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, there is still evidence to suggest that the vitamin may shorten its duration. Furthermore, vitamin C supports collagen production in the body, thereby helping to stabilize proper cell function. Vitamin C deficiency may lead to the formation of spongy gums, mucous membrane bleeding, and spotty skin. Beyond that, vitamin C offers the following health benefits:
- Decreases hypertension
Unmanaged hypertension can lead to cardiovascular disease.
- Cures lead toxicity
Lead toxicity can lower IQ and create behavioral problems in children and young adults.
- Treats vasodilation
Improper dilation of blood vessels can lead to angina, congestive heart failure, and other life-threatening diseases.
- Cures cataracts
Decreased blood supply to the ocular nerves can cause blindness.
- Prevents stroke
Maintaining proper blood pressure levels keeps a potential stroke at bay.
- Enhances mood
Decreased production of neurotransmitters can put you in a foul mood.
- Minimizes the risk of certain cancers
A diet deficient of fruits and veggies with high Vitamin C densities can cause cancerous cells to grow.
- Heals wounds
Skin with collagen cells that aren’t properly supported doesn’t heal quickly.
- Boosts immunities
Stimulated white blood cells help prevent certain types of sickness.
- Reduces the symptoms of asthma
Adequate levels of ascorbic acid reduce the painful side effects of asthma and support healthy oxygen levels.
- Combats diabetes
One of the main causes of diabetes is an ascorbic acid deficiency.
- Fights heart disease
Clogged arteries and high levels of toxicity in the blood can lead to heart disease and other cardiac issues.
While vitamin C is essential and considered safe when taken in healthy doses, consuming too much may have the opposite effect. Taking more than 2-3 grams can cause indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal cramping, especially if you consume it on an empty stomach. The effect may be prevented by taking vitamin C in the form of sodium or calcium ascorbate. Before taking a supplement or changing your diet, be sure to consult with a doctor or nutritionist.