We are thick in the middle of cold, flu and COVID season, and everyone is coughing or has the sniffles right? Is it a cold or an allergy? Regardless, the minute we hear a cough or a sneeze, so many think to take your vitamins. When you think of one of the ultimate vitamins for our daily routine, Vitamin C has to be at the top of the list. And at least for this 47-year old, I have always heard the countless health benefits of vitamin C from my physician mother. And as I hit my 40s and started taking stock of my health – both inside and out – I learned a lot more about the health benefits of vitamin C, not only as a nutritional supplement, but also as a facial serum. Can this little wonder vitamin truly keep us healthy?? What are the top 5 amazing health benefits of vitamin C? And in a world that is sensitive to disease transmission in the wake of COVID, does vitamin C truly prevent us from getting sick? What are all of the health benefits of vitamin C?
I think we have all had someone tell us to drink orange juice or grab a vitamin C supplement at the onset of a cold, right? Well, this is one of the biggest health benefits of vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects your body’s immune system by protecting cells from free radicals. “Studies show that consuming more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%.” While studies haven’t been able to prove that vitamin C supplements can prevent a cold, they have been demonstrated to reduce the severity or shorten the length of a cold. “A 2013 study suggested that a daily dose of 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C can shorten a cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children.”
Prevents Iron Deficiency and Anemia
Patients with anemia have a low red blood cell count – the essential transport mechanism of oxygen to all parts of your body. The most common form of anemia is associated with iron-deficiency. Many vitamins are associated with improving nutrient absorption into the body; vitamin C is essential for iron absorption. “A 2019 article found that vitamin C increased iron absorption by 67%.” For those of us that subscribe to a plant-based diet, vitamin C may be even more critical. It allows our body to better absorb the iron found in plants, like dark leafy greens. “Vitamin C assists in converting iron that is poorly absorbed, such as plant-based sources of iron, into a form that is easier to absorb.”
This one surprised me. I honestly had no idea that stress could be exacerbated by low levels of vitamins or minerals. But given the antioxidant properties, it it not only staving of physical stress by boosting immunity, it is also staving off mental stress. In fact, vitamin C depletion is strongly associated with stress-related diseases, like alcoholism, smoking and obesity. In fact, some believe that vitamin C levels can be used as a marker for overall health.
Lowers Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
Vitamin C may reduce risk factors like high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, high LDL and low HDL levels, which are associated with heart disease and stroke. “For example, an analysis of 9 studies with a combined 293,172 participants found that after 10 years, people who took at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not take a vitamin C supplement.” In addition, in a meta-analysis evaluating the consumption of 500mg of vitamin C, “taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by approximately 7.9 mg/dL and blood triglycerides by 20.1 mg/dL.”
Serious Skin Care
It truly is shocking just how much this little vitamin can do for your skin. Let’s start out the with sun. Vitamin C serums can help protect your skin from sun damage. But of course, don’t skip the sunscreen. C serums won’t block out UVA and UVB rays, which can cause a variety of skin cancers. Vitamin C has also been associated to help lighten dark spots or reduce hyperpigmentation. In some cases these spots can come from sun damage from the past. The brightening properties of vitamin C are truly remarkable when it comes to hyperpigmentation. C serums and diets high in vitamin C are both associated with reducing the signs of aging, particularly on the skin. One of our favorite serums is Beautycounter’s All Bright C Serum, which when used daily, can even skin tone and increase radiance and brightness. Finally, vitamin C can help boost the production of collagen, a protein naturally made in the body that promotes elasticity in the skin, and prevents sagging with age. In this case, collagen production can be enhanced by C serums and increasing vitamin C in the diet.
The health benefits to Vitamin C are countless. And to consume this ever important nutrient seems pretty easy, but yet, at least 8% of the US Population is Vitamin C deficient. For most of us, it is easy to consume in our food – a single kiwi, a red bell pepper, a cup of tomato juice, orange juice or a cup of strawberries will hit the mark on our recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. In fact, many of our smoothies, such as the Strawberry Kiwi Banana Dream, will help you hit your Vitamin C goal.
So eat the rainbow, maximized all of the health benefits of vitamin C, and you can keep away so many illnesses. Your body will thank you.
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