Vitamin C is prized for its many health benefits: it boosts immunity, improves heart health, promotes iron absorption, and more.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for tissue growth, development and repair. It is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radicals (unstable molecules that damage cells).
The body cannot produce vitamin C and must obtain it from food or supplements. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. Vitamin C supplements are available in capsules, chewable tablets, and powder that are added to water.
This article discusses the benefits, uses, and sources of vitamin C. It also explains the symptoms, possible side effects, precautions, and interactions of vitamin C deficiency.
However, independent testing does not mean that a supplement is effective or safe for everyone. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements. Some supplements interact negatively with medications or other supplements.
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient. This means your body can’t make it, so you’ll have to get it through diet or supplements. Vitamin C is found in many foods, such as oranges, red and green peppers, and kiwis.
Research shows that vitamin C has many health benefits. However, when it comes to using vitamin C to treat or prevent specific diseases, the science is inconclusive.
Supplement use should be individualized and reviewed by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or health care provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Vitamin C is already marketed to treat and/or prevent a variety of diseases, from the common cold and COVID-19 to arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Despite this, there is still not enough evidence to support most of the claims made about vitamin C.
Researchers have learned that vitamin C appears to play many important roles in the body. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect is its antioxidant activity.
Supplement use should be tailored to your specific health problems and needs. Before taking supplements, consult with a qualified health care professional, such as a registered dietitian or pharmacist.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it is one of many natural substances that can help treat, slow, or prevent certain health problems. It does this by neutralizing free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and cause disease.
When there are high levels of free radicals in your system, it can cause a condition called oxidative stress (OS). Research has linked many chronic diseases to OS.
However, research on the use of antioxidants to treat or prevent specific diseases is mixed.
There are many types of free radicals; some are more difficult to remove with antioxidants. Their location in the body also has an impact, since certain conditions (for example, inside cells rather than in extracellular fluid) can make antioxidant activity more or less successful.
Additionally, the researchers say it is important to “realistically assess when, where, and to what extent oxidative stress is part of the disease.” So as researchers learn more about the disease process and the role of OS, they may discover the role of antioxidants such as vitamin C.
At the same time, don’t expect vitamin C or any other antioxidant to replace other treatments, although it is generally accepted to have health benefits.
Oxidative stress is thought to play a role in the development of some cardiovascular diseases (“cardio” refers to the heart and “angio” refers to the blood vessels).
The main reason is that oxidative stress causes atherosclerosis, a thickening or hardening of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque formed by cholesterol, fats and other substances. This can lead to coronary heart disease.
Despite this, most studies on the use of vitamin C for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease have found no effect.
The 2020 study contains a promising message. Research shows that vitamin C supplements may help lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. High blood pressure, especially when combined with atherosclerosis, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
When molecules in your body are exposed to factors such as environmental pollutants, smoking and chronic inflammation, they become free radicals.
Many studies have examined the role of antioxidants, including vitamin C, in the treatment and prevention of cancer. However, the results yielded conflicting results.
Most studies show that vitamin C supplements, either alone or in combination with other supplements, do not prevent or treat cancer.
Some studies suggest that high-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C may improve quality of life and reduce the side effects of standard cancer treatments when used as maintenance treatment. However, research also shows that antioxidants have downsides. They can:
Some health professionals recommend eating more fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants, since people whose diets are rich in vitamin C may have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer. However, it is important to remember that no food can prevent cancer.
Additionally, vitamin C supplements by themselves do not prevent cancer. In general, a balanced diet that includes antioxidants is beneficial for overall health.
Future research is needed to determine the role of antioxidants such as vitamin C in cancer development. Talk to your oncologist before you start taking any supplements during cancer treatment.
Gout is a common and extremely painful form of arthritis that primarily affects the big toe. It is caused by excess uric acid (a waste product) in the blood, which leads to the formation of crystals in the joints. The crystals then cause inflammation leading to painful episodes.
Several studies have shown that vitamin C can prevent gout by reducing uric acid levels in the blood. This may be, at least in part, due to its antioxidant activity. People with severe oxidative stress have higher uric acid levels.
However, a 2021 review of studies concluded that while the results are encouraging, more high-quality human research is needed to ensure it is a safe and effective treatment or prevention.
With anemia, there are not enough red blood cells in the blood, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. The most common type of anemia is caused by a lack of iron, which the body needs to make red blood cells.
Vitamin C is known to help the body absorb certain nutrients. Among health care professionals, this has led to the long-standing practice of recommending vitamin C and iron supplements to treat anemia.
A 2019 article found that vitamin C increased iron absorption by 67%. However, a 2020 study cast doubt on this. Research has shown that iron supplements alone are as effective in treating anemia as iron supplements combined with vitamin C.
The difference in results may be due to the type of iron people take. Non-heme iron from plant sources is better absorbed when combined with vitamin C. Heme iron is the form found in meat and is generally better absorbed because it is more bioavailable than non-heme iron. Additional research is needed to resolve this issue.
Vitamin C is also sometimes taken orally (by mouth) or topically (applied to the skin) to speed up skin healing. According to research, taking vitamin C can:
These abilities are thought to be primarily due to the antioxidant activity of vitamin C and its ability to stimulate collagen production in the skin.
This is best achieved through food (including supplements) rather than topical application, as collagen is deep in the skin and cannot penetrate the outer layers to get there.
Collagen is a protein in the body that makes tissues strong, elastic, and able to withstand stretching. It is found in skin, bones, muscles, tendons and cartilage.
Conventional wisdom about taking vitamin C to treat a cold may not be as smart as you think. Research provides mixed data on the ability of vitamin C to treat or prevent these respiratory infections.
But even so, these views are not clear-cut conclusions. For example, a systematic review of eight studies found that vitamin C had little effect on the duration of a cold. However, a separate meta-analysis found that it may shorten treatment duration.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that can lead to blindness over time. Research on whether vitamin C and other antioxidants can prevent AMD has been inconclusive. But some research suggests it may slow down the process.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) is a large clinical trial of nearly 3,600 older adults with AMD. Participants were divided into four groups and received different treatments:
After six years, participants taking the supplements experienced slower progression of AMD. However, the researchers were unable to determine whether vitamin C itself had an effect.
However, this was an older study, and many other studies since then have failed to prove that vitamin C on its own helps fight AMD. A 2017 study concluded that vitamin C “probably” does not prevent or delay AMD, and vitamin E and beta-carotene do not.
Research shows that a regular diet and supplements may protect you from age-related neurodegeneration and the following conditions:
Research suggests that vitamin C deficiency may contribute to the development of these psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, and vitamin C supplements may help relieve symptoms. However, this work is still at a preliminary stage and more research is needed.
Post time: Nov-07-2023