We all are aware of the fact that vitamins are needed in adequate amounts for the proper functioning of the human body. There are different kinds of vitamins which are required by the body. Among them, vitamin C needs special mention. Generally, whenever we talk of vitamin C, the first thing that comes to the mind is that of an orange. Oranges and other citrus fruits are considered as a powerhouse of vitamin C. But how many of us have detailed information about vitamin C and the benefits that it offers? In this article, we will discuss in detail the various aspects of vitamin C.
What is Vitamin C?
The first thing that we need to know is what is vitamin C? Vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbic acid. Another interesting thing is that Vitamin C is water-soluble. This means that if you take the excess of vitamin C, it will be excreted from the body via urine and the required amount will be used and absorbed by the body. On the other hand, there are some fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D, which get stored in the liver and fat tissues of the body and tend to get eliminated very slowly.
The human body is not able to manufacture vitamin C on its own. As a result, one has to consume the same via various items which abound in this variety of vitamin. There are many fruits and vegetables which are rich sources of vitamin C. We will discuss such items later in this article. Apart from these, there are also vitamin C supplements available in the market, which help in compensating if you are deficient in Vitamin C. Immune Defence is a well-known vitamin C supplement, which has shown to have great results in many people. Made of natural ingredients, this supplement is completely free from side effects.
Various health benefits offered by vitamin C
We all know that vitamin C offers various kinds of health benefits for humans. Some of the most important ones are as follows:
- Helps in protecting against free radicals – When it comes to natural antioxidants, there is no better option than that of vitamin C for the same. Being an antioxidant, vitamin C helps in protecting against damage from various kinds of free radicals or molecules which might cause damage to the cells in the body. The process of generating free radicals is natural and spontaneous for the human body. But there are some activities like sunbathing, smoking and even exercising which might accelerate the production of free radicals. This is the reason that people are seen to drink orange juice post-exercise as vitamin C in oranges help in recovery from intense exercising. As per experienced dietician nutritionist, the effects of circulating free radicals are blunted by Vitamin C because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Prevention from cold – There are mixed reactions on this particular point associated with vitamin C. The majority of people have a notion that Vitamin C is excellent as a cold-preventer and is also a cold-shortener. But frankly, there is not much scientific research backing up this fact. Some studies on colds and vitamins found that there is no justification for routine supplementation with vitamin C for reducing the incidence of cold among general people (1). However, it has been proved that vitamin C plays a crucial role in common cold prevention and shortening the span of common cold and illness associated with the same. For other kinds of colds and problems, this will not be applicable.
- Absorption of various essential nutrients – Many essential nutrients in the human body cannot be absorbed on their own in the body. They need help from other components for the process of absorption. One of the best examples in this regard is that that vitamin C is paired with iron so that the optimal absorption of iron takes place in the body. So if you are looking to increase your iron amount in the body make sure that you consume more amounts of vitamin C as well.
- Ensures good health of tissues and cells in the body – Collagen is manufactured naturally by the human body. You might not know but vitamin C is a vital cofactor that helps in the synthesis of collagen in the body. Vitamin C is very important for hair and skin, cardiovascular health as well as joint and bone health. When an adequate amount of collagen is synthesized by the body, the cells and tissues in the body remain young and healthy. Vitamin C is also helpful for maintaining the health of blood vessels as it keeps the vessels highly flexible so that they can expand and constrict properly. As a result, blood flow is well-maintained in the body.
- Weight control – In various researches and studies it has been established that consumption of vitamin C is integrally linked with lower body mass index and the low percentage of body fat. Why this happens is still not established.
- Eye health – Eye health is guaranteed with vitamin C. You might not know that vitamin C is there in high concentrations in the eye. In many types of research, it has been proved that people who consume diets that are rich in vitamin C are not likely to suffer from cataracts or any other kind of eye disease.
- Prevention of various diseases – Many pieces of evidence have compelled in believing that vitamin C has played an important role in preventing various health conditions ranging from cancer to heart disease to Alzheimer’s to depression and build immunity. However, there is not enough research in support of these claims.
The correct amount of vitamin C dosage that is required daily
Physicians have specific recommendations of vitamin C dosage for adults. The daily allowance of vitamin C for adult men is 90 milligrams and for adult women, it is 75 milligrams. Experts opine that smokers need more vitamin C. they need 35 milligrams more vitamin C every day because they are exposed to free radical damage from cigarette smoke. People who are exposed to UV rays or lots of secondhand smoke should consider increasing their vitamin C dosage.
If someone is deficient in vitamin C, the symptoms are evident. Some of the early symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include irritability, weakness, vague joint and muscle pain, weight loss, etc. A simple blood test can ascertain the levels of vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C deficiency can be combated successfully with a proper diet which contains abundant fresh fruits and vegetables.
Is overdosing on vitamin C possible?
It has been mentioned previously that vitamin C is water-soluble. As a result, it is not possible to consume too much of this vitamin. If you overdose on vitamin C content regularly, it might lead to abdominal bloating and diarrhea. Various kinds of other gastrointestinal issues might also crop up which include the likes of cramps, nausea, and vomiting. It has also been seen that vitamin C intake is linked integrally to a specific kind of kidney stone in men. Therefore vitamin C supplementation is not generally recommended for men and others who are at high risk of oxalate stones.
What are the different food items which are rich in vitamin C?
Vitamin C cannot be manufactured by the body. Therefore it has to be consumed in the form of food from outside. Generally, citrus fruits are considered to be a great source of vitamin C. Along with citrus fruits, the majority of brightly colored fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C. Some of the best examples of foods that abound in vitamin C are Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, cantaloupe, etc. Health experts opine that it is best to rotate these food items in the diet that you follow. Each of these food items comes with its blend of minerals and vitamins along with phytochemicals and phytonutrients.
Vitamin C supplements
It might not always be possible to consume vitamin C enriched foods. In such situations, it is best to go for vitamin C supplements. There are many over-the-counter vitamin C supplements available, which you can try. You can also try various kinds of multivitamins as these contain considerable amounts of vitamin C. However, do not overdose on the supplements as these might cause serious side effects and lead to toxicity.
Now you have a fair amount of knowledge on vitamin C and how to use the same in your diet.