Vitamin C: What Is It And What Are The Benefits?
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an effective nutrient and powerful antioxidant that can work to strengthen your body’s immune system and natural defenses. Its properties as an antioxidant help to protect cells from free radicals, which are harmful, unstable atoms that can result in illness and aging by damaging the cells in your body. Vitamin C has been linked to several additional impressive health benefits, which will be explored in more detail below.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
Vitamin C is considered to be an essential vitamin, which means that your body requires it to function. However, your body cannot produce it, and it must be acquired from outside sources- generally your diet. Vitamin C is found in many types of fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, and kale. People primarily receive vitamin C from the foods they consume, which healthcare professionals typically advise, but many people also utilize vitamin C supplements. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women.
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Vitamin C Health Benefits:
The Immune System
One of the primary reasons people consume vitamin C supplements is to boost the effectiveness of their body’s immune system, in which vitamin C plays many different roles. For example, vitamin C prompts the production of white blood cells- which can help protect the body from infections- while also enhancing their effectiveness. Vitamin C is also an essential component of the skin’s defense system and can even help significantly reduce the time required for the body to heal its wounds.
A deficiency of vitamin C is linked to several types of poor health outcomes, including scurvy. Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency can include nosebleeds, easy bruising, dry skin, weakness, tiredness, muscle and joint pain, weight loss, tooth loss, difficulty healing wounds, and issues with fighting off infections. Please note, however, that this list of symptoms is not extensive. If you believe yourself to be experiencing a vitamin C deficiency, it may be best to consult your physician for assistance. They may suggest both dietary changes and starting a daily intake of vitamin C supplements.
While vitamin C is neither a cure nor a prevention for the common cold- as many people falsely believe- it appears to reduce the severity of various cold symptoms. It has also been shown to expedite the recovery time from colds by 14% in children and 8% in adults. Additionally, there is evidence that vitamin C can significantly reduce the risk of further complications developing due to a cold, including lung infections and pneumonia.
Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
High blood pressure is experienced by approximately one-third of American citizens, and it puts them at a higher risk for heart disease, which is a leading cause of death worldwide. Studies have indicated that vitamin C can help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in healthy adults and those with higher blood pressure levels.
However, while this research demonstrated positive results, scientists are unsure whether the effects of vitamin C on blood pressure are temporary or last long term. More research needs to be conducted for answers to be discovered, and medical professionals have advised those with high blood pressure not to rely on vitamin C alone for treatment.
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Iron is another critical nutrient that serves various functions, including the transportation of oxygen throughout the body and the creation of new red blood cells. Vitamin C can help enhance the body’s ability to absorb iron from dietary elements that can otherwise be difficult for the body to take iron from effectively, such as plants. This enhancement is significant for those who don’t consume meat, which is a primary iron source. Studies have indicated that vitamin C may improve the body’s iron absorption rate by as much as 67%. This can help reduce the risk of people developing an iron deficiency.
Though research regarding vitamin C and its impact on strokes are conflicting, a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that those with the highest levels of vitamin C in their blood had a 42% lower risk of stroke when compared to those with the lowest concentrations of vitamin C. The reason for this is currently unknown by scientists, and more research is needed to understand this connection. It has been theorized that those with higher amounts of vitamin C likely eat more fruits and veggies, which provide several other healthy vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
A vitamin C deficiency has been scientifically linked to several stress-related disorders. Research has discovered that vitamin C is the first nutrient to be depleted in individuals struggling with alcoholism, smoking, and obesity. Those who were given vitamin C as part of a study reported feeling less stressed than before receiving the vitamin. Additionally, animal studies have indicated that vitamin C can reduce specific stress hormones in the blood, like cortisol.
Vitamin C is an essential component in keeping people healthy and helping their body to function correctly. It’s important that people consume enough fruits and vegetables to gain the necessary amounts of vitamin C, though this is not something that is always possible for everyone. If that is the case for you, consider taking vitamin C supplements to compensate for the vitamin C in your regular diet. You can also check out Magic Mind, a productivity drink full of vitamins (including vitamin C), nootropics, and adaptogens that promote energy and focus while boosting cognition and blood flow.
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