Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is one of the vital nutrients the body needs. It can be gotten from some foods especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C supplements are also available. It is water soluble and as such is not stored by the body. To therefore maintain adequate levels of it, a daily intake of food that contains it is necessary. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90mg for men.
Vitamin C provides the body with so many benefits, some of which shall be seen below. Vitamin C helps form and maintain bones, skin and blood vessels. Other health benefits include:
1. Enhances healing of wounds:
One of the roles of vitamin C in the body is the production of collagen which is the main component of connective tissue. When people who suffer from scurvy which results from vitamin C deficiency injures, it takes longer time to heal. Therefore, cuts, wounds and grazes heal faster in people with higher intake of vitamin C.
2. Boosts the immune system:
Taking vitamin C can help strengthen the body’s immune system. This is because they protect cells from harmful molecules called free radicals thereby protecting the body from chronic diseases. It also helps in the production of white blood cells which help protect the body against infections.
3. Improves cardiovascular health:
Research shows that the intake of vitamin C can help improve cardiovascular health as it can help widen and relax the blood vessels thus, help lower blood pressure. It is also effective in reducing bad cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the body.
4. Prevents gout:
Gout symptoms occur when there is too much uric acid, a waste product produced by the body, in the blood. People with gout experience swelling and sudden severe attacks of pain. However, several studies have shown that vitamin C may help reduce uric acid in the blood, consequently protecting and preventing the body against gout attacks.
5. Helps in the absorption of iron:
Studies show that vitamin C supplements can help improve the absorption of iron which is an important nutrient for the body as it is essential for making red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin C helps in converting iron that is poorly absorbed such as plant based sources of iron into a form that is easier to absorb thereby improving the blood iron levels.
6. Combats cancer:
Vitamin C serves as an antioxidant and helps protect the body against oxidative stress and prevent the oxidation of other molecules. Research also shows that the intake of high doses of vitamin C may reduce the speed of growth of some types of cancerous tissue.
7. Improves brain function:
Oxidative stress and inflammation near the brain, spine and nerves can increase the risk of dementia which comes with poor thinking and memory loss and is mostly age related. High intake of vitamin C has been shown to improve the brain function as it has a protective effect on thinking and memory as you age. Research shows that low levels of vitamin C can result to an impaired ability to think and remember.