Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C endogenously, so it is an essential dietary component. Basially, you can’t make it inside your body, you need to eat it in the form of food or supplementation.
What Does Vitamin C Help With?
According to a recent meta-analysis, vitamin C was beneficial to individuals whose immune system was weakened due to stress — a condition which is very common in our society now a days! It was found that because vitamin C is one of the nutrients sensitive to stress, and is the first nutrient to be depleted in alcoholics, smokers, and obese individuals, it makes it an ideal marker for overall health.
When it comes to the common cold (especially during the winter months), vitamin C is not the cure, but some studies did indicate that vitamin C can help prevent more serious complications. There is good evidence that taking vitamin C for colds and flu can reduce the risk of developing further complications, such as pneumonia and other lung infections.
Although research has been conflicting, 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 stoke risk than those with the lowest concentrations. The reasons for this are not completely clear. But what is clear is that people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables have higher blood levels of vitamin C. People who consume more fruit and vegetables will not only have higher levels of vitamin C, but higher intake of other nutrients potentially beneficial to health, such as fibre and other vitamins and minerals.
- Skin aging
Vitamin C affects cells on the inside and outside of the body. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined links between nutrient intakes and skin aging in 4,025 women aged 40-74. It found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance, dryness of the skin, and a better skin-aging appearance. So for anti-aging purposes don’t hold back on the vitamin C rich foods.
To supplement or not to supplement?
Recent studies done suggested we need to take 500 milligrams of vitamin C a day, in addition to eating your five servings of fruits and vegetables daily for healthy living and disease prevention. Still, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dee Sandquist, RD, suggests doing your best to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet before taking supplements. To make sure you get all your vitamins and minerals from simply taking food and no supplementation, you need to eat nine servings of fruit and vegetables daily. This will help you achieve that healthy dose of vitamins C as well as an abundant dose of other vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Food always comes first as vitamins and minerals are in it’s most natural form within food and thus the healthiest way to absorb. Taking nine servings of fruit and vegetables daily will definitely give you an advantage in disease prevention and overall health.
Look out for my next blog where I will share food sources high in vitamin C.