20 Health Benefits of Vitamin C - The Ultimate Guide
Vitamin C is a nutrient, yet it’s an essential vitamin, meaning the body can’t produce it. You have to eat it, or find a way to supplement it! (2)
You may have heard about the role of vitamin C in viral infections, or perhaps helping with oxidative stress in the body. Yet it can do so much more - when your body receives enough of it.
The Health Benefits Of Vitamin C
The list of ways that vitamin C can benefit your health is long, but here are 20 of the most important:
Vitamin C promotes the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, aiding the body's defense against infection. Vitamin C also protects white blood cells from damage by molecules such as free radicals. (1)
Shortens Wound Healing
Vitamin C is a cofactor with iron in the production of collagen, making it important for tissue repair. After wounding, plasma and tissue levels of vitamin C diminish. As a consequence, supplements can be useful for healing. (4,5)
Helps Absorb Iron
Helping improve iron absorption from food, vitamin C aids in the conversion of iron that is poorly absorbed (such as plant-based iron sources) into an absorbable form. This is useful for vegans or vegetarians, as meat is a major source of iron. (6,7)
Protects Memory Function
Oxidative stress and inflammation near the brain, spine, and nerves can increase the risk of dementia. Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant, and low levels have been linked to cognitive and memory impairment. (8,9)
Reduces Blood Uric Acid Levels
Gout is a type of arthritis. Symptoms appear when there is too much uric acid (a waste product) in the blood. Uric acid is produced by the body. At high levels, it crystallizes and deposits in the joints. Studies show vitamin C may help reduce uric acid. (7,10)
Manages High Blood Pressure
Vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in people with and without high blood pressure. Taking supplements can help relax blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, reducing blood pressure levels. (11).
Human studies found that taking vitamin C supplements reduces systolic blood pressure (the upper value) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower value). (12)
Vitamin C penetrates the skin well. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (a vitamin C derivative) is used in skincare and has a hydrating effect on the skin, making it an excellent cosmetic splurge if you would like your skin to retain moisture better (up to 19 percent). (13,14)
General dullness that prevents a dewy glow is eradicated with vitamin C. Transforming dull, blotchy skin, this powerful antioxidant protects the skin from environmental pollution, making skin look and feel lush. (15)
Studies have shown SPF with vitamin C protects the skin from the photodamage caused by ultraviolet rays better than sunscreen without. (16)
Vitamin C can lower the risk of developing cataracts and can help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Taking 500 mg per day has been shown to slow the disease among people with AMD. (17)
Improves Glucose Levels
After taking vitamin C supplements for four months, participants in a 2019 study found their glucose levels and blood pressure improved, compared with those taking a placebo. This suggests vitamin C could help treat diabetes. (18)
Reduces Effects Of Pollution
A combination of vitamin C and E has been shown to have an antioxidant effect that can help reduce symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - perfect for anyone living amongst pollution. (19)
In a 2018 study, 71 people with allergies received various doses of intravenous vitamin C, and the researchers observed the severity of the participant’s symptoms.
Their paper concluded that taking a high dose of vitamin C may help reduce allergy symptoms - both skin and respiratory. (20)
Helps Motion Sickness
In a 2014 study, 70 people took 2 grams of vitamin C or a placebo before spending 20 minutes in a wave pool on a life raft. Those who took the supplement experienced less seasickness, particularly in women and men younger than 27 years of age. (21)
Vitamin C promotes sleek and gorgeous hair, reducing hair loss and improving growth. Deficiency can result in dry hair and split ends, and supplementation is important in patients with hair loss associated with iron deficiency. (22)
May Help Weight Loss
Vitamin C is correlated with a lower percentage of body fat and a smaller waist circumference.
A 2007 study used placebo and vitamin C supplements to observe how this might affect weight loss. The researchers concluded that those who took vitamin C had lower BMIs. (23)
Cortisol is a hormone that gives the brain the “flight or fight” response whenever we’re stressed. Vitamin C helps reduce cortisol production, allowing our bodies to cope.
An Alabama study looked at vitamin C levels in humans and researched the size of the adrenal glands, and the size of the thymus gland, and spleen. They concluded that vitamin C reduces both physical and emotional stress. (24,25)
May Lower Stroke Risk
One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in their blood were associated with 42% lower stroke risk than those with the lowest concentrations. (26)
Vitamin C, is an essential nutrient for maintaining bone health. It is necessary in collagen production in our bones, and it snacks on the free radicals that would otherwise affect bone health. (27)
May Be Helpful For Chronic Smokers
Smokers have lower levels of vitamin C in their blood than nonsmokers because they use it up at a faster rate.
Boosting the blood levels of vitamin C may improve function in blood vessels that have been damaged by smoking, especially injections of high doses of vitamin C. (28)
Supplementation Made Easy
Vitamin C dissolves in water and is delivered this way to the body’s tissues, but is not well stored. (2)
To get vitamin C into your body you can eat citrus fruits (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit), or cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower). Tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, and potatoes are also sources. (2)
Vitamin C is sometimes given as an injection into a vein (intravenous) so that higher concentrations can enter the bloodstream quickly. This is typically seen in medically monitored settings, or in holistic clinics as immune-boosting ‘Myers’s Cocktails’. (3)
Supplements are loved for their ease of use. Purity Labs Omega 3 Fish Oil Two tablets are enhanced with Vitamin C - meaning you can get a double dose of self-care into your body.
It’s worth noting: Most people don’t get enough Vitamin C. Research suggests that 43% of adults and 19% of children in the U.S. could be deficient. (29,30)
By taking supplements to help your body, you can be vitamin C packed and powered - quickly and easily every day!