Vitamin C is the most familiar of all the nutrients because of its widespread use as a dietary supplement. Vitamin C is very critical for human beings, and all mammals can use their own cells to make Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in our body and because the body does not store Vitamin C in its tissues, we need to consume it on a regular basis.
Our body needs Vitamin C to make collagen – a protein that helps support tendons, ligaments and blood vessels and keeps the skin and other organs together. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps strengthen our immunity system, thus protecting us from diseases.
Vitamin C Foods And Sources:
- Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin C. You won’t really require Vitamin C supplements as Vitamin C is already available in ample amounts in food sources and you can get the recommended amount of Vitamin C by incorporating those foods in your diet.
- Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and their juices, as well as red and green pepper and kiwi fruit contain a huge content of Vitamin C. Other fruits and vegetables which include Vitamin C are broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupes, baked potatoes and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C is also widely available in the form of dietary supplements. It is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, drink mix packets and crystalline powder. Tablets and capsules range from 25 mg to 1500 mg. Vitamin C crystals are typically available in bottles containing 100 grams to 500 grams of powder. 1 teaspoon of Vitamin C crystals equals 500 mg of Vitamin C.
The Vitamin C content in food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming and microwaving can also reduce the Vitamin C content.
Deficiency Of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C deficiency is rare because almost all the foods that we include in our diet contain some amount of Vitamin C. Smoking cigarettes lowers the absorption of Vitamin C, so smokers have a higher risk of Vitamin C deficiency.
Signs Of Vitamin C Deficiency Include:
- Dry and splitting hair.
- Gingivitis or inflammation of gums, bleeding of gums, rough, dry and scaly skin.
- Reduction of the wound healing rate, easy bruising, nosebleed.
- Decreased ability to ward off infections.
- The most severe form of Vitamin C deficiency is scurvy. Scurvy leads to the formation of liver spots on the skin, spongy gums and bleeding from mucous membranes. A person with this ailment looks pale, feels depressed and is partially immobilised. In advanced scurvy, there are open wounds that subsequently lead to loss of teeth and, eventually, death.
- Low levels of Vitamin C may lead to high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke, cancer and atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Make sure you eat enough Vitamin C foods to reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C will benefit your health in a great way. Read below to know the amazing health benefits:
A healthy dose of Vitamin C protects our body from infections and maintains healthy bones and teeth. It also improves our body’s ability to repair wounds and keeps us immune from bacteria, viruses and infection. Not only is it a well-known component of our immune system, it is also necessary for collagen, the main structural protein found in connective tissue. Vitamin C, taken orally, helps wounds heal faster and better. Applied topically, it protects the skin from free radical damage from the exposure to UV rays.
2. Common Cold:
Vitamin C reduces the severity of cold symptoms and acts as an effective antihistamine that lessens the unpleasant effects of the common cold, including inflammation, runny nose and aches. It also controls the allergy that causes the cold. It reduces the histamine level and often shortens the duration of the cold.
Vitamin C is a powerful and effective antioxidant that protects our body from free radicals that cause oxidative stress, or ”cellular rust”, that can lead to a host of severe medical conditions such as atherosclerosis, that can cause both heart disease and stroke.
Vitamin C lowers the blood pressure and decreases the probability of hypertension as well as serious health problems that may accompany high blood pressure.
5. Blood Vessels:
Vitamin C also ensures the proper dilation of the blood vessels which helps to protect us against certain diseases like atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, heart congestion and severe chest pains.
6. Lead Toxicity:
Vitamin C helps lower the level of lead in our blood dramatically. Lead toxicity can lead to various behavioural and developmental problems, especially in children living in urban areas. This leads to learning disabilities, lowered IQ and stunted growth in children. Adults may suffer from kidney damage and high blood pressure owing to lead toxicity.
7. For Weight Loss:
Vitamin C fruits and juices are proven to help people lose fat and maintain healthy weight. Popular dieticians and nutritionists always include Vitamin C fruits and vegetables in diet charts because there is scientific evidence that shows that eating Vitamin C rich foods on a regular basis helps in losing weight significantly. Doctors have found that eating Vitamin C fruits lowers insulin. Thus, instead of storing sugar and converting it into fats, it uses it as a fuel that leads to weight loss.
Vitamin C helps the body deal with stress by reducing the elevated levels of stress, hormones and cortisol.
Our eye pupils require Vitamin C to function properly. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to cataracts, where the lens become increasingly opaque, causing a blurry vision and leads to blindness in adults. A high intake of Vitamin C fights against cataracts and increases the amount of blood flow to the eye. 1000 mg Vitamin C per day stops cataracts in their tracks and improves vision.
Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties protect the cells from DNA damage and mutation and protect from cancer in the long run. It supports the body’s immune system and prevents certain cancer forming compounds from forming in the body. It reduces the risk of development of all types of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, colon, stomach and oesophagus. Vitamin C also helps to regenerate Vitamin E which is another powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C does not directly attack cancer that has already occurred but keeps the immune system nourished and enables to battle against cancer.
Vitamin C balances our internal body systems under countless environmental conditions. It aids in the production of dopamine in the nervous system and supports the adrenal function for increased metabolic energy.
12. Heart Disease:
Vitamin C prevents heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging the artery walls, which could lead to plaque formation. This nutrient also keeps the cholesterol from oxidising, which can cause heart stroke. The problem of high blood pressure can also be resolved with this wonder nutrient. All these factors combine to make Vitamin C an inexpensive and easy way to lower the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Diabetic patients can also benefit from Vitamin C as it helps in regulating the sugar levels, reducing the risk of getting diabetes and improving the symptoms of the existing cases. Supplementing Vitamin C forces glucose in the body cells, where it protects against many complications of diabetes.
People with low level of Vitamin C have a high chance of developing asthma. Greater intake of Vitamin C will lessen the body’s production of histamine which contributes to inflammation.
Vitamin C Benefits For Skin:
Vitamin C is the most important ingredient used in skin care treatments. Its ability to provide an effective shield against the sun has made it an indispensable ingredient used in the cosmetic industry.
15. Sun Protection:
Vitamin C protects our skin from free radicals that develop due to excess exposure to the sun, environmental pollution and regular smoking. The antioxidants in Vitamin C protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation and the effect of sunlight exposure.
Vitamin C helps to reduce sun burns caused by the exposure to ultra violet radiation to a great extent. It not only reduces sunburns but also prevents the consequences of long term sun exposure that can lead to skin cancer.
16. Production Of Collagen:
Vitamin C is a required component for the production of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, both of which are needed to bind the molecules that produce collagen. This, in turn, firms and tones the skin. Collagen deficiency makes the skin dull and lifeless. Collagen rejuvenates the skin from the roots and reduces wrinkles and symptoms of aging.
17. Heals Wounds:
The body uses Vitamin C to replace the damaged tissue and helps to heal the wound at a faster pace. Wounds that heal slowly indicate Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C improves the skin elasticity and helps to create scar tissue and ligaments for quick recovery.
18. Protects Against Skin Discolouration:
Vitamin C protects DNA from photochemical reactions that can lead to tumor, skin discolouration and several kinds of skin cancer. It also inhibits the production of Pyrimidine dimers that are the primary cause of melanomas in humans.
It lightens dark discoloration like skin freckles and age spots and helps to get a younger and smoother skin.
19. Improves Skin Texture:
Collagen also provides the structure for the blood vessels. The tiny blood vessels under the skin carry oxygen and nutrients that keep the skin healthy. Without enough nutrients, the skin will become rough and dry. Creams containing Vitamin C improve the appearance and texture of the skin.
Vitamin C increases the formation of elastin which thickens, protects and heals the skin cells. The thickening effect helps retain moisture, increases the skin circulation and plumps up the skin surface.
Vitamin C Benefits For Hair:
In order to get a healthy mane, we need to eat healthy food. A healthy diet reflects in our skin and hair. Vitamin C is more than an antioxidant and plays an important role in improving the health of our skin and hair. Vitamin C provides many benefits for the hair.
20. Improves Hair Growth:
Low intake of Vitamin C may be a root cause for a number of hair-related problems that affect our hair growth. Vitamin C deficiency may result in dry hair and split ends. These conditions are unfavourable for the regular growth of hair.
When our body turns food that we consume into glucose for energy production, free radicals are naturally formed. These free radicals damage our hair by making it weak, brittle and thin. These conditions interrupt hair growth. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties reduce the formation of free radicals and minimises their effect on our body. Having an adequate supply of Vitamin C in our diet is essential for antioxidant protection against free radicals.
People who take huge amount of Vitamin C have healthy, strong and thick hair.
21. Fights Dandruff:
Our hair follicles often get clogged due to dandruff and dry, flaky skin. This can damage the hair follicles if not treated, and also inhibit the hair growth. Vitamin C helps fight the bacteria on the scalp. It wards off dandruff and helps to get rid of the follicles’ debris and encourages the growth of new hair. It also helps with dry and itchy scalps because of its antiviral properties.
22. Stops Hair Loss:
It is used to reverse adrenal gland fatigue. This is crucial for stopping hair loss and encourages more hair growth since the adrenal glands are the key to maintain proper hormonal balance.
23. Thicker Hair:
It also helps improve the blood circulation and strengthens and repairs the capillaries too. This is particularly important for getting stronger, thicker hair.
24. Fights Hair Disorders:
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for damaged hair and thus, treats and prevents a variety of hair disorders which can damage the hair follicles and affect the normal growth of hair. A diet containing significant levels of Vitamin C can help combat alopecia and baldness in men.
25. Prevents Greying Of Hair:
Vitamin C not only helps combat hair loss but also helps retain the natural color by preventing the premature aging of the hair.