Vitamin C is probably the most well-known vitamin of all time and one of the most searched vitamins online. And with good reason. It has some pretty amazing health benefits. Read on to learn some fun and fascinating facts about America’s favorite vitamin.
- Humans need to consume vitamin C but your dog -and most other animals – do not. Why? Because they produce their own. In fact, humans, primates, and guinea pigs are the only species that do not. This means we must get vitamin C from our diet or supplements.
- Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means the body cannot store adequate amounts of this nutrient for future use. That is why it is important to consume a sufficient amount of vitamin C daily.
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. Studies show that consuming more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%.
- Vitamin C plays an essential role in collagen synthesis and is vital for wound repair, healthy skin, and healthy gums. Normal skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C.
- Vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system. Research shows the use of vitamin C taken throughout the cold and flu season can reduce symptoms and decrease the duration of colds.
- Vitamin C can help improve the absorption of iron (especially plant-based sources) from the diet, which is especially useful for people on a meat-free diet. In fact, simply consuming 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67%.
Where Do You Find Vitamin C?
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, red and green pepper, and kiwifruit, as well as other fruits and vegetables—such as broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes.
It’s important to note that the vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming or microwaving may lessen cooking losses. In addition, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin C including people who smoke and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke. People who do not regularly consume a varied diet, and people with certain chronic diseases and malabsorption issues also have trouble getting enough Vitamin C. Alcohol use may also increase the risk of vitamin C deficiency because alcohol acts as a diuretic, which can increase the amount of vitamin C that is flushed out of the body in the urine.
While it’s commonly advised to get your vitamin C intake from foods, many people turn to supplements to meet their needs. Overall, vitamin C supplements are a great and simple way to boost your vitamin C intake if you struggle to get enough from your diet.
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“Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminC-HealthProfessional/.
Pullar, Juliet, et al. “The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health.” Nutrients, vol. 9, no. 8, 2017, p. 866., https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080866.
Raman, Ryan. “7 Impressive Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 19 Feb. 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#The-bottom-line.