Vitamin C Benefits
What is it with vitamin C? You know about vitamin C.
You know your mom and your doctor lied to you.
Let's be fair though: your mom didn't lie to you - she really didn't know any better.
"Pump up on vitamin C or you'll get sick this winter."
Like that helped, right?
You got sick anyway. Every single year.
But here you are, still "pumping up" on vitamin C every time winter approaches just to get that cold anyway...
Every time you go into the pharmacy and grab those useless effervescent tablets you feel like a crazy person.
You hear that little voice in your head saying, "going for the stuff that doesn't work, again?"
Know what? You're not crazy at all, you're just misinformed about a misunderstood substance.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is crucial for your wellbeing. So take a deep breath and sit back.
When you and I are done working through this article, vitamin C will be your new best friend.
And you'll be so excited about vitamin C benefits you'll never want to be without it.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT IS VITAMIN C?
Before we get into the conventional idea of vitamin C, you should know at Metabole, we don't agree that ascorbic acid is just a vitamin.
However, for this article, we will use the term "vitamin C".
If you have the time, though, please read this article to better understand Metabole's view on ascorbic acid (or vitamin C).
OK, what is "vitamin C"?
"Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is part of the water-soluble group of vitamins, of which the eight B-complex vitamins are also members. Vitamin C is dissolved in the watery portions of our foods and is transported into our bloodstream after digestion. Our body then takes the circulating vitamin C and concentrates it, mainly in our white blood cells, eyes, specific hormone-producing glands and brain."
- Message Magazine
Vitamin C is present in many fruits and vegetables, of which the following are just a few:
- Bell peppers
- Kiwi fruits
- Oranges (thought I forgot about that one, hey? Though a good source of vitamin C, citrus is not the best out there.)
Without vitamin C, your body could not perform these essential metabolic processes:
- Formation and maintenance of collagen. (Collagen is an important protein present in your skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, intestines and the discs between your spinal vertebrae.)
- Formation of carnitine. (An amino acid necessary to transport fatty acids into mitochondria. It's an important factor to produce cellular energy.)
- Formation of neurotransmitters. (Vitamin C is directly involved in forming neurotransmitters - your ability to respond to your environment and your brain's ability to think and remember depends on these important molecules.)
Vitamin C helps your bones to keep their calcium content, protects your cell membranes from toxic waste, and acts as an anti-oxidant.
I told you you'd get excited... We haven't even covered the vitamin C benefits yet!
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VITAMIN C BENEFITS: THE MYTH
Before we get to the real vitamin C benefits, let's get the big, fat lie we've been taught out of the way.
YOUR SUSPICIONS WERE CORRECT
Vitamin C does not cure a cold. And, as you know from personal experience, blasting yourself with vitamin C a month or two before winter starts won't prevent it either.
That's because we need vitamin C for a healthy immune system.
If our immune systems are weak to begin with, we will get sick.
Think of it this way: You have an accident and as a result you sustain major injuries to your right leg and foot.
After months of surgery it's time to walk again.
Do you get out of bed and go on with your life as if nothing ever happened?
Of course not - before you can walk again, you'll go through extensive physical therapy sessions.
A person living an average lifestyle of consuming sugar, supermarket fruits and veggies and lots of meat, who eats out every now then, and doesn't exercise often may think he/she is healthy.
Truth is they cannot prepare their immune systems against viruses and bacteria in a short time. (Unless they make drastic lifestyle changes, which is a different discussion all together.)
Let's draw a comparison:
- The lifestyle is the accident, causing injuries to a person's immune system. (Only, it's an accident happening in slow motion.)
- Trying to prepare a weak immune system to fight against viruses and bacteria a few months before winter, is like expecting to get up and walk after months of surgery. The months of surgery in this case would be an increased vitamin C intake just before winter.
If your doctor had taught your mom to teach you about vitamin C benefits and the crucial role it plays in your wellbeing, you would have known a daily intake of vitamin C all year round would prevent you from getting that cold.
With ample amounts of vitamin C in your body, if you get a cold (and that's a big if), it won't be as bad or last as long.
VITAMIN C BENEFITS: 5 IMPRESSIVE HEALTH REASONS VITAMIN C SHOULD BE YOUR BEST FRIEND
1. IMPROVES CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
"... we can get almost complete control of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes by the proper use of vitamin C and lysine. It can prevent cardiovascular disease and even cure it. If you are at risk of heart disease, or if there is a history of heart disease in your family; if your father or other members of the family died of a heart attack or stroke... or if you have had a mild heart attack yourself, then you had better be taking vitamin C and lysine.”
- Dr Linus Pauling
Nobel Prize winner, Dr Pauling, uttered those words in a time when research on the effects of vitamin C on heart (and other) disease was scant.
Back then, the medical establishment branded Pauling a quack, because he advocated the use of high doses of vitamin C to treat many diseases.
Today though, lots and lots of research is being done into vitamin C benefits and the important role vitamin C plays in human wellbeing.
With every study, Dr Pauling's beliefs about vitamin C is being firmly established as scientific truth.
can only imagine Dr Pauling smiling within himself and burning to tell the medical establishment, "I told you so!" if he were alive.
Modern Studies into Vitamin C Benefits for Cardiovascular Health
An American study found that vitamin C might play a role in reducing heart disease risk.
Further studies show higher plasma levels of vitamin C could be linked to reduced heart disease risk.
Here's an interesting fact: some studies found vitamin C to be as good for your heart as an exercise.
Please don't stop exercising though!
A regular dose of vitamin C can hinder the activity of a protein (endothelin-1). The protein constricts small blood vessels and causes heart attacks.
Vitamin C Benefits After a Heart Attack
"In an even more hopeful note, research seems to indicate that it is never too late to benefit from vitamin C’s protective effects on the heart. Researchers think that vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can help alleviate oxidative damage from a heart attack.
Studies have shown that vitamin C reduces the extent of the destruction to heart muscle after a heart attack, while cutting the risk of future events. Vitamin C also improves electrical conduction throughout the heart muscle, decreases clotting factors that increase stroke risk, reduces inflammation, and prevents destructive changes in heart shape and operation. In addition, vitamin C can Increase exercise tolerance following a heart attack – while reducing the oxidation of dangerous LDL cholesterol.
Animal studies have suggested that vitamin C can even help reduce damage from ischemia-reperfusion injury, a type of post-heart attack oxidative injury in which blood previously cut off by the attack rebounds suddenly back into the area. And, finally, researchers believe that vitamin C can help protect against atrial fibrillation – a type of irregular heartbeat – along with weakening and enlargement of the heart, or dilated cardiomyopathy."
2. REGULATES BLOOD PRESSURE
Image from OptimalWellnessLab.com
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, large doses of vitamin C can lower blood pressure.
This function of vitamin C could be attributed to its physiological and biological effects.
Vitamin C acts as a diuretic and causes the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from your body, relieving the pressure on blood vessel walls.
Vitamin C also protects your body’s supply of nitric oxide, a molecule known to relax blood vessels.
According to an Italian study, vitamin C enhances vasodilation (the dilation of blood vessels that decreases blood pressure).
"Several studies have examined the impact of vitamin C on blood pressure. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps neutralise cell-damaging free radicals. Research has shown that antioxidants can help to reduce high blood pressure, possibly by protecting your body's supply of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes blood vessels.
The current study, published in the Nutrition Journal, found that both the systolic and diastolic (top and bottom) readings were inversely associated with ascorbic acid levels.
Specifically, women with the highest levels of ascorbic acid had a decline of about 4.6 mm Hg in systolic and just over 6 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure, compared with women with the lowest ascorbic acid levels.
Previous research has also confirmed that adding vitamin C to your diet can help to reverse the degenerative process caused by free radicals, resulting in lower blood pressure levels.
Interestingly, vitamin C can also give extra oomph to other antioxidants, such as catechins, which are naturally occurring antioxidants found in green tea.
Green tea has been linked to heart- and cardiovascular health as it improves both blood flow and the ability of your arteries to relax. One 2007 study discovered that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C increases the amount of catechins available for your body to absorb.
The possibility of a natural agent being able to lower blood pressure and help prevent heart disease is certainly worth noting, especially when you consider the damage that many, if not most, drugs can do."
3. PREVENTS CANCER
Image from MedicalNewsToday.com
“Dr Linus Pauling, often known as the ‘Father of Vitamin C’ and twice awarded the Nobel Prize, declared that daily intakes of up to 10g of the vitamin aids anti-cancer activity within the body.
Pauling was largely derided for making these declarations, but today, large doses of Vitamin C are used by many practitioners for cancer patients in nutritional therapy, who believe Pauling was right and that the popular nutrient is indispensable to the body in its fight to regain health from cancer.”
- Phillip Day
Again, modern research is only catching up now with Dr Pauling's findings.
High doses of vitamin C can slow down the growth of prostate, liver, colon, and other types of cancer.
Apart from slowing down cancerous growth, other studies shows vitamin C to kill cancer cells completely.
A report by Cornell University states that vitamin C halts aggressive colorectal cancer.
Had the medical establishment listened to Dr Pauling, so many lives could have been saved since the 1900s...
4. IMPROVES IMMUNITY
Many studies have shown a powerful positive correlation between vitamin C intake and strong immune systems.
With an enhanced immune system, the severity of allergies and infections are reduced significantly.
Wounds also heal much faster when we have high levels of vitamin C in our bodies.
Some studies, though inconclusive, found that vitamin C may even treat asthma.
5. IMPROVES EYE HEALTH
"Vitamin C helps promote healthy capillaries, gums, teeth, cartilage and the absorption of iron. Almost all cells of the body depend on it, including those of the eye, where it is concentrated in all tissues. Vitamin C also supports the health of blood vessels in the eye."
- American Optometric Association
Evidence suggests that vitamin C intake can lower the risk of cataracts. People with high vitamin C levels have a 20% lower risk to develop cataracts.
When taken with other essential nutrients, it can prevent age related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.
Vitamin C supports the health of blood vessels in our eyes.
Vitamin C might also aid in the regeneration of vitamin E in the eye, enhancing eye health even more.
Wait, Mom Said I Need to Eat Lots of Carrots to have Good Eyes!
"Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment which is an essential precursor for vitamin A. Deficiencies in vitamin A are the leading causes of blindness in the developing world.
Lack of vitamin A can also lead to:
- Macular degeneration
- Xerophthalmia (a disease which is characterised by dry eyes, swollen eyelids and corneal ulcers)
Carrots contain lutein, an important antioxidant. Lutein-rich foods are known to increase the density of pigment in the macula, the yellow-shaped oval area in the centre of the retina. As pigment density increases, the retina is protected more and the risk for macular degeneration decreases.
In summary, the carrot provides many benefits for healthy vision, but eating carrots every day will not restore vision to 20/20.
Optical deformities like astigmatism, conditions like strabismus and diseases like glaucoma cannot be corrected by eating Bugs Bunny’s food of choice.
Corrective lenses and eye procedures would still be necessary even if every American ate a steady diet of carrots.
Because carrots are rich in vitamin A and lutein, they are always a good choice for a nutrient-packed snack. So keep packing those carrot sticks in the school lunches, mom. But don’t expect X-ray vision from little Tommy. He will still need to wear his glasses every day!"
BONUS: OTHER VITAMIN C BENEFITS
As if you're not impressed already, I'll just list a few other vitamin C benefits:
VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS
Since this article focuses on vitamin C benefits, we won't go into an extensive discussion about the signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.
But I thought you might wonder whether you're showing any signs of of a deficiency.
It's true that scurvy doesn't occur often in our modern age. This has lead to a common misconception that vitamin C deficiency isn't a "thing" anymore. That belief couldn't be further from the truth.
Let's look at the signs that show you may lack in vitamin C:
- Easy bruising.
- Slow wound healing
- Swollen, bleeding, or inflamed gums.
- Dry or splitting hair and nails.
- Red, rough, or dry skin.
- Frequent nose bleeds.
- Poor immune function.
- Swollen and painful joints.
- Fatigue and/or depression.
- Unexplained weight gain.
Now you know what it is with vitamin C!
But now that you know, I know what you're thinking: "what am I supposed to do with all this information about vitamin C benefits?"
Well, act on it.
Remember the list of vitamin C-rich foods we talked about when we started?
Incorporate them into your diet so you can start enjoying vitamin C benefits.
Do you remember what they were?
- Bell peppers
- Kiwi fruits
Those are not the only foods rich in vitamin C.
A simple internet search will lead you in the right direction.
I know you're busy though, so I'll help you out. You'll learn more about vitamin C benefits and vitamin C-rich foods from the following article:
Vitamin C Foods, Signs of Deficiency, & Health Benefits
Apart from eating foods high in Vitamin C, consider supplementing with a reliable and trusted brand, like Metabole.
Did you find this article on vitamin C benefits useful? Your loved ones and friends are sure to learn from it, too! Please share it with them.
AUTHOR: MELISSA NIEMANN
Freelance Writer & Artist
Metabole Berry C Formulation
AVAILABLE IN SOUTH AFRICA ONLY
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