Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth
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It has been widely regarded as essential to everyone’s nutrition for years now, especially sailors who were the victims of scurvy and a host of other diseases linked to the lack of fruit and vegetables that were available to them.
Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is one of the most important water soluble vitamins. It is essential for collagen, carnitine and neurotransmitters biosynthesis. Most plants and animals synthesize ascorbic acid for their own requirement. However, apes and humans cannot synthesize ascorbic acid due to lack of an enzyme named gulonolactone oxidase.
Best sources of vitamin C
- Sweet potatoes
- Citrus fruits
- Cooked broccoli
- Red cabbage
- Green peppers
- Red peppers
- Kiwi fruit
- Tomato juice
The seven main health benefits of vitamin C
It is a strong antioxidant
Antioxidants act to protect the cells and limit the damage by stabilizing and mopping up free radicals. So Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Beta Carotene could help keep the body younger and protect it against serious life threatening conditions.
In relation to exercise, where oxidative stress and free radicals are prevalent due to the intense nature of it and its effect on the body, exercise-induced oxidative stress is highest for people with lower vitamin C levels. We can then surmise that if you are currently training and engaging in intense daily workouts that you should supplement with this vitamin to prevent the deleterious effects of free radicals.
It lowers your blood pressure
As it is water soluble, it also acts as a diuretic causing the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from the body, which helps to relax the blood vessel walls, thereby lowering blood pressure.
Lower blood pressure also means that you have less chance of having a stroke and increased cardiovascular health, which is so important today as many people suffer from cardiovascular disease.
It boosts your immune system
We’ve already heard of how vitamin C prevents curable diseases such as scurvy and how it combats a variety of diseases. As a result, it boosts your immunity and has been found to stave off illnesses such as colds and flu.
Studies show that it is essential to stimulate the immune system by increasing the strength and protection of the organism. Due to its role in reducing inflammation, it is essentially for immunity and general health.
Finally, it protects the immune system, reduces the severity of allergic reactions and helps to fight off infections. If you want to stay fit and healthy then adding more of it to your diet should be a priority.
It increases your iron absorption
Vitamin C-rich fruits such as goose berry has been reported to increase the bioavailability of iron from staple cereals and pulses. We know that iron’s main role is to increase the body’s ability to carry oxygen through the blood and deficiency can result in anaemia. Therefore, its is highly beneficial to this process.
Vitamin C helps maintain healthy skin and hair
If you want clearer skin and stronger hair then this vitamin plays a major role in making sure this becomes a reality. Vitamin C helps build the protein collagen and coupled with the aforementioned absorption of iron you’ll not only have healthier skin and hair but you’ll maintain it.
It assists with weight loss
Everyone either wants to lose weight, build muscle or maintain where they are right now, and sometimes it’s really difficult and you need that little bit extra to assist you. Well, alongside your balanced diet and workout regime you should aim to increase your intake of sweet potatoes and citrus fruits.
Studies have shown that its status is inversely related to body mass. Individuals with adequate its status oxidize 30% more fat during a moderate exercise bout than individuals with low status; thus, vitamin C depleted individuals may be more resistant to fat mass loss. In short, you’ll get the most out of your fat burning workout if your levels are high.
All-in-all, vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that doesn’t have a good reputation by accident. Alongside how it improves your ability to heal wounds and reduce inflammation inside and outside your body, as well as giving you a great look, it has also been marginally viewed as a vitamin that gives you more energy and boosts your mental health.
Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency
If you’re deficient in vitamin C then you could suffer from the following symptoms: