It’s no secret that our bodies require specific nutrients on a daily basis in order to function at their best. And one of those nutrients is vitamin C. Well known for its immune-boosting potential, vitamin C’s ability to shorten the common cold is only a small part of its role in the body. Vitamin C is crucial for the formation and maintenance of skin, bones, blood vessels, among other things.
What Is Vitamin C and Why Do You Need It?
Vitamins C also plays an important role in wound healing and repair and maintenance of bones and teeth. And when you combine vitamin C with plant-based iron, it can help you absorb more iron from your food.
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Unlike other mammals, humans cannot produce vitamin C on their own. This means, in order to meet your vitamin C needs, you need to get it from foods or supplements. You may not need to take a supplement if you consume a well-balanced diet. But if you don’t eat enough fruits and veggies, a supplement may be beneficial or even necessary.
Vitamin C Deficiency Signs and Symptoms
Although it’s rare to find individuals with serious deficiency, evidence suggests that a lot of people have low levels of vitamin C, particularly smokers. Smoking is known to lower the level of vitamin C in the body, so smokers tend to be at a higher risk of deficiency. Common signs of vitamin C deficiency are dry and scaly skin, dry and splitting hair, bleeding gums, easy bruising, lower wound-healing rate, nosebleeds, and weakened immune system. Getting enough vitamin C in your diet or as a supplement can help you avoid these problems.
What to Look for in Vitamin C Supplements?
Once you discover the variety of vitamin C supplements available on the market, the first question that will come to your mind is: What should I look for when buying vitamin C? For the best value, go for the most basic version – the ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid is what is found naturally in foods. The synthetic form used in vitamin C supplements has proved to have similar bioavailability to the natural form occurring in foods, such as citrus fruit and broccoli. Whether you choose a powder or tablet form of supplement, the bioavailability of ascorbic acid will be the same.
Some people, however, find the ascorbic acid version upsets their stomach. If this happens to you, try a different form of vitamin C that is easier on your stomachs, such as magnesium and/or zinc ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, or calcium ascorbate. These forms contain a mineral molecule that reduces the acidic of vitamin C, making it easier on the stomach.
You may also want to consider a vitamin C that contains bioflavonoids in its composition. It has been proven that adding bioflavonoids to the formula helps increase the absorption of vitamin C in the body. Vitamins C supplements containing probiotics, digestive enzymes, and adaptogenic herbs are also available. These vitamins may provide extra benefits but also may come with different risks and side effects, the reason why you should consult with your doctor before taking a supplement with any of these ingredients.
Benefits of Taking Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C plays a role in a variety of immune system processes. One of them is encouraging the production of lymphocytes and phagocytes, both white blood cells responsible for protecting the body against infection. Furthermore, vitamin C helps these blood cells function more effectively and also prevents them from getting damaged by free radicals.
According to studies, taking vitamin C improves wound healing times and helps strengthen the skin barrier. With white blood cells functioning more effectively, a stronger skin defense system, and wounds healing faster, your immune system gets stronger.
Promote Skin Health
Together with your natural remedies to keep your skin glowing you should also include vitamin C supplements to your skincare regime. Research revealed that healthy skin contains significant quantities of vitamin C. This vitamin not only prevents sun damage but also boosts collagen production in the skin, which is what gives skin structure and stretch. The human body has a tendency to produce less collagen as it ages, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C can assist in the regeneration of lost collagen.
Vitamin C supplements can also help to prevent sun damage by removing oxidants caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. This type of radiation can contribute to premature aging of the skin, causing hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and skin sagging. Vitamin C has also the ability to inhibit the production of melanin, which is a pigment that causes dark patches on the skin.
Prevent Iron Deficiency
Iron is required for the formation of red blood cells as well as the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. This means, your body can’t function properly without it. Vitamin C supplements have the power to improve iron absorption from foods. It aids absorption by transforming poorly absorbed irons, such as iron from plants, into a more absorbable form. If your iron levels are low, taking a vitamin C supplement may help you get more iron in your blood. This is especially true if you are vegan or vegetarian as meat is a rich source of iron.
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Reduce Tiredness and Fatigue
Sometimes, it’s natural to feel fatigued and exhausted, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle or practice intense physical activity. However, feeling constantly tired can be a sign that your body is having trouble converting the food and drink you consume into energy. In this case, no matter what you do to boost energy and vitality, may not be helpful. This could mean a deficiency in some micronutrients, such as Vitamin C. As mentioned above, weakness and fatigue are some of the symptoms related to vitamin C deficiency, so make sure you’re getting enough.