Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is an essential vitamin and a powerful antioxidant that helps in maintaining good health, supple skin and strong hair. The countless health benefits of Vitamin C make it one of the most essential nutrients that we should include in our diet.
Being a water soluble vitamin, it can be found in many fruits and vegetables, and there is no dearth of rich sources of this astounding nutrient. Most of the citrus fruits are enriched by it, and all of them offer a broad spectrum of Vitamin C advantages.
If you are wondering that why Vitamin C is important for our health and what does vitamin C do for our bodies, then you must know that right from boosting your immunity against the common diseases like cold to providing protection against life-threatening ailments like cancer and cardiovascular problems, it supports our overall well-being in multiple ways.
Table of Contents
- How Much Vitamin C Do You Need Daily?
- Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
- Side Effects of Consuming Excess of Vitamin C
- Best Dietary Sources of Vitamin C
- Health Benefits of Vitamin C
- 1. Prevention and Treatment of Common Cold
- 2. Protects Against Cancer
- 3. Prevents and Treats Lead Toxicity
- 4. Boosts Immunity
- 5. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
- 6. Prevents and Cures Cataract
- 7. Weight Loss
- 8. Protects Skin From Sun Damage
- 9. Enhances The Glow Of the Skin
- 10. Improves Hair Growth and Fights Dandruff
- Related Posts
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need Daily?
The requirement of vitamin C varies with our age and gender.
Vitamin C Requirement
Up to 6 Months
|7 months – 1 year||50 mg|
|1 – 3 years||15 mg|
|4 -8 years||25 mg|
|9 – 13 years||25 mg|
|Teenagers||65 mg and 75 mg for girls and boys respectively|
|Adult Males||90 mg|
|Adult Females||75 mg|
The people who smoke need more Vitamin C as compared to nonsmokers because smoking reduces the absorption of the vitamin in the body. Health experts recommend consumption of additional 35 mg of Vitamin C to smokers, apart from the recommended daily intake.
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
While the deficiency of Vitamin C is very rare, but, if it happens, the following signs and symptoms indicate it:
- Bleeding gums
- Joint and bone pains
- Leg rashes
- Muscle weakness
- Scurvy (only caused by prolonged and extreme deficiency of Vitamin C)
Side Effects of Consuming Excess of Vitamin C
When you are getting the Vitamin C from the natural fruits and vegetables, it is generally considered safe. In fact, under oxidative stress (generally caused by smoking) and while recovering from some bone or muscle injury, the body needs more than the recommended amount.
While the recommended dose of Vitamin C in adults is 90 mg for males, and 75 mg for females, but if you consume Vitamin C up to 500 mg, it does not harm the health. The excess vitamin is flushed out from the body with urine.
But, if the intake of this antioxidant-rich vitamin exceeds 2000 mg per day, one may experience significant side effects, including the formation of kidney stones, severe nausea, diarrhea, gastritis and abdominal cramps.
Best Dietary Sources of Vitamin C
The best dietary sources of Vitamin C include oranges, Indian Gooseberry (Amla), Kale, Red Bell Peppers, Brussels Sprouts, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Strawberries, Broccoli, Guava, Green Peppers, Papaya, Pineapple, Lemon etc.
You can include these sources in your daily diet, and preferably, consume them raw so that the nutrients don’t lose their value due to overcooking.
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
1. Prevention and Treatment of Common Cold
One of the common and most irritating ailments that often comes with the change in seasons and in the winter months is the common cold.
Vitamin C intake right from the onset of common cold helps in significantly reducing its symptoms, the duration of the cold and the histamine levels.
Also, when you consume the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C, it helps in preventing the occurrence of cold as well.
2. Protects Against Cancer
While it’s hard to believe that if you consume an orange, a kiwi, a bowl of broccoli, or simply a few lemons daily, you can protect yourself from the life-threatening disease like cancer, but it’s completely true.
All the aforementioned fruits and vegetables are rich sources of Vitamin C, and this vitamin is an antioxidant that prevents and treats the oxidative damage in the body.
Cancer is one of the diseases that occur when oxidative stress increases in the body because it creates an ideal growth environment for the cancerous cells.
When you consume Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables daily, you can control the oxidative damage, and thus, curb the growth of cancer cells. Vitamin C consumption can significantly minimize the risk of oesophagus, stomach, rectum, colon, throat, mouth and lung cancer.
3. Prevents and Treats Lead Toxicity
Adulteration of food and pollution is responsible for the presence of lead in the food products. Lead is one of the most harmful elements and is highly toxic.
Lead toxicity is more common in urban areas than rural ones, owing to the high levels of pollution.
It badly affects the mental health and growth among children. Lead toxicity may also result in lower IQ, behavioral problems and learning disabilities in children, and might cause high blood pressure and kidney damage in adults.
The vitamin C supplements can significantly reduce the levels of lead in the blood, and thus, prevent it from causing different ailments.
4. Boosts Immunity
Adequate levels of Vitamin C in the body help in maintaining healthy gums and bones, while protecting us from many infections. It also enhances the body’s natural ability to protect us from various bacterial, and viral attacks.
This amazing vitamin boosts the immune system as well as the natural ability of the body to heal wounds.
Vitamin C is also responsible for producing collagen in the body, the connective tissue’s primary structural protein and thus, it helps in protecting the skin from the damage caused by UV rays of the sun.
Vitamin C can also be topically applied to the skin to enhance the production of collagen and gain protection against oxidative damage.
5. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases
The Vitamin C rich diet helps in improving the cardiovascular health and the levels of HDL, the good cholesterol. It also helps in reducing the LDL, the bad cholesterol.
The health experts are still not clear about how Vitamin C boosts cardiac health, but, it significantly protects the body from multiple heart-related problems.
This antioxidant-rich vitamin substantially reduces the risk of heart congestion and stroke while lowering the blood pressure and decreasing hypertension.
Vitamin C also helps in dilating the blood vessels and protecting the heart against atherosclerosis and high cholesterol.
6. Prevents and Cures Cataract
Cataract is one of the most common eye diseases and is characterized by the appearance of a cloud on the natural lens of the eye.
Vitamin C is imperative for maintaining vision, and a decrease in Vitamin C consumption can affect the eye health and may lead to cataract. High intake of this vitamin, like 800 – 1000 mg per day can improve vision and stop the cataract in their tracks itself.
Also, an increase in the intake of this astounding Vitamin boosts the blood supply and circulation in the body’s ocular areas.
7. Weight Loss
Vitamin C aids in weight loss and helps in getting rid of the fat deposits in the body. Especially, the fresh juices of citrus fruits without added sugar are quite effective in aiding weight loss.
Also, the consumption of Vitamin C lowers the insulin in the body, and that’s why instead of storing the sugar and converting it into fat, our body uses the sugar as fuel.
8. Protects Skin From Sun Damage
When our skin gets exposed to the harmful UV rays of the sun, free radicals develop in it. Air pollution and smoking also have a similar effect on the skin.
Being a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C helps in fighting the free radicals and thus, protects the skin from damage, skin cancer and premature signs of aging like fine lines, pigmentation and the appearance of wrinkles.
This astounding Vitamin is also responsible for reducing the effects of sunburn on the skin and removing tanning. You can also remove tanning from the skin by directly applying the juice or pulp of Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables.
9. Enhances The Glow Of the Skin
By improving the skin texture, Vitamin C helps in enhancing the glow of the skin. This incredible vitamin helps in boosting the production of collagen, which firms up the skin and improves the skin tone.
The deficiency of collagen makes the skin look dull and lifeless, and its presence not only makes the skin radiant but also prevents the aging of the skin. It also rejuvenates the skin and lightens the color.
The creams and serums containing high concentrations of Vitamin C increase the circulation of blood in the skin, plump the skin’s surface and help in retaining the moisture to keep the skin hydrated.
One of the most prominent ways in which Vitamin C helps our body is by keeping our skin supple, healthy and free from the signs of premature aging.
Owing to the various vitamin C benefits for skin, it is widely used in skin care products aimed at lightening the skin tone and delaying the signs of aging like pigmentation, dark spots, uneven skin tone and much more.
10. Improves Hair Growth and Fights Dandruff
The low consumption of Vitamin C may be one of the prime reasons behind the dull hair, split ends, dandruff, and slow hair growth.
In the process of metabolism, the free radicals are formed in the body, which may lead to a number of hair problems and make hair weak & brittle.
Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants capable of fighting the free radicals and neutralizing them. As a result, they are not able to affect the hair health and growth, and you get long strong and lustrous tresses. Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins for hair and skin.
Also, this incredible vitamin helps in fighting off the bacteria present on the scalp and ward off dandruff, which may be stopping the hair from growing.
Now that you are aware of the fact that how does vitamin C help the body, you must ensure that you consume the natural sources of this incredible vitamin daily. By adding sufficient quantity of Vitamin C rich foods, we can protect our body from a myriad of ailments, and ensure that our skin stays healthy too.
While Vitamin C is one of the most vital nutrients and its efficiency may lead to many diseases, but, its overdose is also harmful. Consuming Vitamin C more than our daily requirement can lead to a plethora of side effects, and that’s why you should not indulge in over consuming it.