Vitamin C Benefits and Information - Vitamin & Herbal Supplements

Vitamin C Benefits and Information

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is probably among the best-known nutrients due to the popularity of Vitamin C supplements to prevent and treat symptoms of colds and infections.

Vitamin C was first named in the mid-1700s when the first known nutritional experiment was conducted to find a cure for scurvy, a deadly disease contracted by sailors on long voyages. Since the sailors were consuming all of the fresh fruits and vegetables brought on the journey early in the voyage, they were actually suffering from severe Vitamin C deficiency.

Scurvy, the deficiency disease of Vitamin C is characterized by severe weakness, aching joints, bursting capillaries and bleeding gums. When sailors with these symptoms were given Vitamin C-rich citrus juices, their symptoms subsided.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant with several important roles in the body. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system and protect cells from damage caused by oxidation reactions that occur throughout the body.

Vitamin C is also needed for regeneration of Vitamin E and for iron absorption. In addition, collagen, the protein from which connective tissue is constructed, depends on Vitamin C for its formation. Vitamin C can also lower blood levels of histamines, substances associated with cold symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, and watery eyes.

Vitamin C is particularly effective in protecting the cells that line the respiratory tract. It is also involved in many other processes related to immunity, detoxification, and healing. For this reason, Vitamin C supplements are widely used by people with a variety of medical conditions from the common cold to cancer.

In fact, studies show that high Vitamin C intake is inversely related to all causes of premature death. Vitamin C is also said to be useful in protecting the body from stress-related ailments. Both physical and emotional stress may raise requirements for Vitamin C.

Symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include delayed wound healing, chronic colds or infections, and respiratory problems. Anemia and pinpoint bleeding (tiny red dots on the skin) are also possible signs of Vitamin C deficiency. Pain or weakness in the muscles and joints, bruising, and loosening of teeth may signify a need for more Vitamin C as well.

Adults need 75-90 milligrams of Vitamin C daily. People who are regularly exposed to environmental toxins and people who smoke may need more Vitamin C. Also, some medications deplete the body of Vitamin C, raising requirements for the nutrient. These medications include oral contraceptives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), corticosteroids, antibiotics and cancer drugs in the sulfa class, and barbiturates. Vitamin C boosts iron absorption and may interfere with copper absorption if consumed in large amounts.

The best food sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits, though most fruits and vegetables contain some Vitamin C. Vitamin C supplements, usually in the form of ascorbic acid, are widely available as well.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, excess amounts are generally excreted by the body, making Vitamin C supplements relatively safe in doses as high as 2000 milligrams per day. Very high doses of Vitamin C (5000 milligrams or more) can result in diarrhea or increased levels of uric acid, which may lead to the development of kidney stones.

Author: Paul

Paul Crane is the founder of His passions include supplements, working out, motorcycles, guitars... and of course, his German Shepherd dogs.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *