Even before humankind had the science to explain it , we knew that vitamin C was a powerful force of nature
From a young age, most of us learn that vitamin C is good for our health. Maybe we read about the unfortunate sailors of centuries ago who died from scurvy, or our parents gave us orange juice to fend off the sniffles. Even before humankind had the science to explain it and give it a name, we knew that vitamin C was a powerful force of nature.
Vitamin C (aka, ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that it can be delivered and utilized by the body’s tissues, but is not stored. Therefore, it must be replenished daily via food or supplements. Some vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and potatoes.
What is it about this molecule that makes it so amazing? Well, gather some grapefruits and get cozy, because we’ve rounded up 12 reasons to love vitamin C!
- Combats Skin Aging
Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient, potent antioxidant, and cofactor for numerous enzyme reactions in the body. Since skin is the largest organ of our bodies, vitamin C plays a vital role in keeping it healthy. Mainly, vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis, the primary protein responsible for maintaining structural integrity of the skin. It also protects the skin against detrimental free radicals and irreversible UV-induced photodamage, both of which contribute to aging and wrinkles.
- Supports the Immune System
Studies show that vitamin C contributes to immune defense by stimulating white blood cells, supporting both the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Furthermore, studies show that vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. In turn, supplementation with vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. Beware that oral vitamin C supplements often cause diarrhea. One of several reasons why intravenous therapy is recommended over pills and powders.
- Helps Fend Off Free Radicals
As a master antioxidant, vitamin C helps to remove unwanted substances from our bodies known as reactive oxidative species (aka, free radicals). Vitamin C has also been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including vitamin E and L-carnitine.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. It can lead to cell and tissue damage, and is associated with the development of certain chronic diseases. Oxidative stress occurs from excess inflammation and exposure to toxins, ultimately accelerating the aging process.
- Enhances Wound Healing
People with a low intake of vitamin C may experience slower wound healing, largely because their bodies produce less collagen. According to research, reduced collagen production results in a disruption of connective tissue and increased fragility of blood vessels, which allows wounds to remain open. Not only can this cause physical pain and loss of function, but it leaves people at a heightened risk for developing life-threatening infections.
- Assists Iron Absorption
Vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron. Iron deficiency can cause a dangerous drop in red blood cell production (anemia). Some of the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency include:
- Fatigue, weakness
- Confusion, loss of concentration
- Sensitivity to cold
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Pale skin
- Hair loss, brittle nails
- Pica: cravings for dirt, clay, ice, or other non-food items
- May Improve Cardiovascular Health
Vitamin C may benefit cardiovascular health for several reasons. Studies have suggested that in addition to the powerful antioxidant benefits, vitamin C may improve nitric oxide production, which increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Vitamin C also inhibits oxidation of LDL-protein, thereby reducing atherosclerosis. Overall, current research suggests that vitamin C deficiency is associated with a higher risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
- Balances Blood Sugar
Both short-term and long-term studies suggest that vitamin C supplementation may improve glycemic control and other health outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes. One long-term study concluded that taking ascorbic acid along with metformin (a diabetes medication) is more effective than metformin alone in reducing complications from diabetes, including reducing ACR – an indication of kidney disease.
- Eases Motion Sickness
Some data suggest that vitamin C may be effective in suppressing symptoms of motion sickness, particularly in women. Scientists postulate that it may be due to vitamin C’s role in histamine suppression. More data is needed to confirm the association. Needless to say, if you’re prone to motion sickness, it can’t hurt to load up on vitamin C before your next road trip.
- May Be a Treatment for Cancer
Various studies have suggested that taking high doses of vitamin C may limit the effect of carcinogens in the body, and may especially help prevent certain types of cancer, such as breast, colon, and lung cancer.
Additionally, studies have suggested that vitamin C may make radiation and chemotherapy more effective when taken intravenously in extra-high doses (typically only achievable via IV therapy).
- Prevents Osteoporosis
Recent research studies have shown that vitamin C may positively affect bone mineral density, indicating that a deficiency of ascorbic acid can lead to the development of osteoporosis. While bone health is important for everyone, it is especially crucial for elderly populations, where the occurrence of a hip fracture is associated with significant mortality and a high risk of disability.
- Promotes Eye Health
Evidence suggests that vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts, and can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss. Additionally, vitamin C’s role in encouraging vitamin E regeneration indirectly supports eye health.
- Boosts Brain Function
Vitamin C plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis and cognitive function. Since neurotransmitters allow for communication between the brain and the rest of the body, higher levels of vitamin C may be associated with increased brain function.
Additionally, neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, typically involve high levels of oxidative stress. Thus, vitamin C has been celebrated for its role in potentially mitigating the onset and progression of these conditions.
Food vs Faking It
While ingesting “megadoses” of Vitamin C is not necessarily toxic, the intestines have a limited ability to absorb it. Studies have shown that absorption of vitamin C decreases to less than 50% when taking amounts greater than 1000mg. Additionally, heat and cooking in water can destroy some of the vitamin C content in foods, which means raw foods rule when it comes to vitamin C.
Unfortunately, raw food can be hard on the G.I. tract, causing gas, bloating, and pain or discomfort. Moreover, ingesting large quantities of vitamin C orally (via food or oral supplements) can cause unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhea, increased risk of kidney stones, increased levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout), and increased iron absorption potentially leading to iron overload. Therefore, while having a diet rich in vitamin C is certainly beneficial, more isn’t automatically better.
Receiving vitamin C via IV drip is the most efficient way to get it into your body without the unpleasant side effects. All of the IV drips at B12 LOVE contain generous amounts of vitamin C. Ask one of our licensed medical professionals about getting more vitamin C into your wellness routine!