What is the importance of Vitamin C?
We all know that we should take Vitamin C regularly, but what’s the importance of Vitamin C to the human body?
Here’s a short run down of why it’s so important and how it can help keep you feeling fresh.
What is Vitamin C?
Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble essential vitamin, the latter meaning that it is vital to the body.
The importance of Vitamin C in your diet or by taking supplements cannot be overstated.
Vitamin C can’t be produced by the body, so it must be ingested regularly, either through diet or supplements.
What’s the importance of Vitamin C?
Being deficient in Vitamin C can lead to the onset of scurvy, what used to be called ‘the sailor’s disease’.
It was noticed as early as Egyptian times that sailors and others who were deprived of foods containing Vitamin C became ill: losing their hair and teeth, suffering sore limbs and feeling weak.
It was a Scottish doctor who discovered that scurvy could successfully be treated with citrus fruit, although it still took a couple of decades before the Royal Navy began to routinely treat their sailors with lime juice.
Giving British sailors (and all Britons before long) a new nickname: limeys.
Vitamin C has many proven uses in the body, and there are more being discovered all the time.
Here is a fairly comprehensive list of proven benefits of keeping your levels of Vitamin C high.
Vitamin C has long been recognised as a strong antioxidant, helping keep the body free of disease and in great condition, mopping up free radicals - cell fragments responsible for inflammation and other issues - and reducing inflammation caused by things like illness and poor diet.
It protects your cells and keeps them healthy. It maintains healthy skin, bones, blood vessels and cartilage, so your body is strong and able to repair itself well after exercise.
Vitamin C is also important as it helps with wound healing, fending off infection and speeding up healing time.
The vitamin has also been found to reduce blood pressure as it works by relaxing the walls of the blood vessel.
Lower blood pressure can reduce the risk of heart disease which is currently the global leading cause of death.
Vitamin C also helps with other essential minerals and vitamins too. It is known to improve iron absorption in the digestive tract.
It helps the immune system by improving the health of white blood cells in two ways: it boosts production of useful white blood cells and then it makes those cells function more efficiently through the antioxidant action of the vitamin.
Your skin loves Vitamin C: the importance of Vitamin C to your skin can’t be overlooked.
The body actively transports Vitamin C to the skin where it is something of a Jack-of-all-Trades!
It promotes faster healing and strengthens the skin’s natural barriers against the elements and factors of ageing.
Collagen and Vitamin C are the dream team for gorgeous skin.
If you are taking a collagen supplement to further improve the appearance and health of your skin, Vitamin C helps the body to synthesise it giving you younger-looking, more elastic, and better-hydrated skin.
But that’s not all: Vitamin C also helps the body to produce more natural collagen so it acts like something of a double win against the ageing on the skin.
What’s the importance of Vitamin C to collagen? It cannot be quantified more highly: Vitamin C helps the collagen get to where it is needed and makes it start working straight away.
Using an award-winning product like Absolute Collagen, which uses only the finest hydrolysed marine collagen as well as contains Vitamin C, alongside a regular dose of Vitamin C, is an excellent way to give your skin the boost it needs.
Memory and cognition
Low levels of vitamin C have been found to affect thinking and cognition, and it is strongly recommended that taking a supplement or eating plenty of the vitamin may help to stave off or reduce the effects and onset of dementia and other impairments to thinking and memory.
Vitamin C can also help to reduce or stop the inflammatory response to pollen, dust, dander and seeds that trigger allergies and hay-fever symptoms.
This means that it can help regular antihistamines by enhancing the effect or reducing the dose that you need to take.
Again, if you have been prescribed medication by your medical professional, continue to take it as recommended and consult your doctor before making any changes.
Vitamin C levels in the body are reduced by stress so try taking a supplement if you fall into this category. If you’re going through a hard time, or are overworking your mind and body, Vitamin C may help calm you down.
How much do I need?
Now you know what’s the importance of Vitamin C, the next question is: how much is needed?
The minimum recommended dose for adults is around 40mg per day minimum, while the recommended daily amount runs between 75mg and 90mg.
Many people take considerably more than this and this is generally absolutely fine as the upper safe limit is thought to be around 2,000mg per day – which is a very large dose indeed!
There should not be any long-term ill-effects from the occasional overconsumption of Vitamin C as it is not stored anywhere in the body if it is not needed or used: hence the need to ingest it every day.
Where can I get some?
The easiest way to increase your Vitamin C intake is through diet.
Most fruit and vegetables will contain some Vitamin C, and fresh is not always better than preserved.
In pumpkins, for example, natural Vitamin C levels decline quite quickly once the squash has been picked and by the time it gets to your table, it might only have five per cent of the Vitamin C that it should contain.
Tinned or frozen pumpkin, as it gets preserved very quickly after picking, retains a lot more of the vitamin content, and you can even get an impressive ten times the amount of Vitamin C.
Some of the fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in Vitamin C are citrus fruits of all types, berries, peppers, broccoli, potatoes (both white and sweet) and brussels sprouts.
All benefit from being consumed or preserved quickly after picking, to remain healthful, and where possible try to eat them with the skins on as this is where the bulk of the nutrients are stored.
As amazing as Vitamin C is to your health, it’s possible that some benefits have been overstated. There are quite a few myths about what Vitamin C can (and can’t) do.
Myth: It cures the common cold
Sorry, but this isn’t true. Nothing can really cure a cold except time and rest.
However, Vitamin C can help you feel better sooner and can also reduce or prevent some of the worst complications. It’s not a bad idea to drink OJ and increase your Vitamin C intake while under the weather.
It doesn’t cure a cold exactly, it does help ease it on it’s way.
Myth: It reduces the risk of cancer.
Again, no. But Vitamin C, as mentioned above, can improve your general health, keeping you fit and strong.
Myth: It’s good for your eyes and your sight
This is a surprisingly popular rumour, and it may have come about in a rather roundabout fashion: carrots are good for your eyesight (they’re not, that was a rumour started during WWII to prevent the Germans finding out about British radar). Carrots are orange.
People make the connection between the colour orange and good eyesight, which is why a lot of us believe that Vitamin C (and in particular, oranges) can benefit your eyes.
We hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t work like that. There’s no proof that Vitamin C is good for your eyes.
While there are a few myths surrounding Vitamin C, the one thing we know for sure is that it does work hand-in-hand with collagen to keep skin’s elasticity.
Vitamin C is not a magic pill, and it won’t cure everything. However, it is a valuable assistant to maintain general good health and keeping you in the best condition possible.