Most of us know that vitamin C plays an integral part to our overall health. But when you get down to the specific things that it can help with, it becomes even more clear that it’s something you shouldn’t neglect, and that you should go out of your way to maintain. We’ve already outlined plenty of vitamin C-laden foods that will help you avoid the need for supplements. But whatever you have to do, just make sure that you’re not running low so that you can keep your body running at optimal levels.
Health and Happiness
Boosts the Immune System– Your immune system is vital to your overall feelings of wellness and to keep you from getting the common cold and other bugs that go around the home or office. It’s what gives vitamin C its big reputation as being a cold fighter. Research shows that supplementing with vitamin C can both prevent and treat respiratory and systematic infections. When your immune system is in proper working order, you feel like you can take on the world, and when it is run down and depleted from a lack of proper nutrients, you’re leaving yourself open to all sorts of colds and illnesses. Top up on natural sources of vitamin C every day!
Helps Skin Heal– One of the marvels of the human body is its ability to repair itself. You can watch a cut or scrape gradually heal itself, many times leaving no scar behind. Why not help your skin out by giving it the building blocks it needs? Research shows that vitamin C contributes to collagen production, which is what helps keep your skin smooth and wrinkle-free. Vitamin C also helps treat and prevent skin damage due to overexposure to the sun.
Keeps You Regular– Many foods that contain vitamin C are also high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. Examples include oranges, broccoli, spinach, squash, and bell peppers. Other research shows that high levels of vitamin C has a laxative effect on the body. One source claims that taking one to two tablespoons of vitamin C and magnesium can help clear the bowels in as little as 30 minutes when taken with several glasses of water on an empty stomach. Be careful not to overdo it so you don’t end up with diarrhea instead! You can also try yoga to help get things moving.
Helps with Depression and Anxiety– Vitamin C acts as a sort of all natural tranquilizer to help you feel less anxious and more calm. One study found that students who supplemented with vitamin C improved their anxiety levels. It can be used in conjunction with other supplements to try to treat depression naturally, but might not be enough for severe cases. It’s always best to consult with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your condition. Don’t forget that other vitamins also play a key role in feeling good and keeping the brain healthy, such as vitamin D and vitamin B. Keeping healthy levels of all your vitamins from natural sources is key to your mental health.
Helps Blood Pressure
If you’re struggling with high blood pressure and are looking for a way to treat it without resorting to prescription drugs and statins, you may want to pay extra attention to your vitamin C intake and see if that works. Research shows that high levels of vitamin C can help reduce blood pressure. It may be all you need to get your BP levels to a place that keeps your doctor happy, and gives you a better quality of life. Not only has vitamin C been shown to help lower blood pressure, but it also helps your vascular system overall, which can lessen your chance of a heart attack or stroke.
Helps Cholesterol Levels– If your cholesterol levels aren’t where they should be, you may want to look at how much vitamin C you’re getting and see if it’s enough. Research shows that supplementing with vitamin C can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. LDL is the “bad” kind of cholestrerol that causes plaque buildup in your arteries, so it’s good to clear this. Aim for at least 500 mg of vitamin C a day for at least four weeks to see results.
Helps Manage Stress Levels– Stress is caused by a number of factors, including the rushed pace of our modern society. But the body is equipped to handle the stressors that come with everyday life, as long as we treat it good and give it what it needs to survive. Vitamins play a big part in this, and vitamin C is near the top of the list as a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce free radical damage associated with being overly stressed. Bonus: It works on both a physical and psychological level. Here are some other foods that can help relieve stress.
Diseases and Conditions
Helps with Heart Disease– Because of its assistance in several different areas regarding the cardiovascular system, vitamin C is an important vitamin to keep up on if you want to keep your heart healthy. It’s been shown to help keep you free from stress, keep your blood pressure down, and keep your cholesterol levels low. One study found that vitamin C deficiency was linked to heart disease. The Mayo Clinic reminds people that you can’t rely on vitamins alone to prevent heart disease, and they can’t overcome the negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. So take a comprehensive approach to your health and start breaking bad habits while forming good ones.
Helps with Osteoporosis– Research shows that vitamin C influences the expression of bone matrix genes in osteoblasts, which produces a positive effect on bone formation. Low levels of vitamin C are linked to bone pain. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb calcium, and along with a proper intake of this vitamin plus other nutrients like vitamin D and magnesium, you’ll be setting the stage for your body to help correct the symptoms of osteoporosis. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you’re getting enough calcium. The supplementary vitamins and minerals simply help your body use that calcium to the best of its ability so it doesn’t go to waste.
Helps with Age-Related Macular Degeneration– To get the best results, you’ll want to combine vitamin C with other antioxidants to help treat this debilitating disease. Improving your nutrition is one of the ways that you can turn macular degeneration around, and it becomes a matter of learning which foods are high in which vitamins, and incorporating more of them into your daily diet plan. According to one study, people who took 500 mg per day of vitamin C along with vitamin E, zinc, and beta-carotene reduced their risk of visual acuity loss by 19 percent and advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25 percent. Here are some other foods that can help.
Helps with Asthma– This is one instance where you’ll want to use vitamin C supplements in addition to food sources. This is because in order to have an effect you’ll need more than the typical amount found in most foods with high levels of vitamin C in them. The idea is that the vitamin C helps with inflammation, and therefore can reduce your asthma symptoms. Research shows that vitamin C is needed for the metabolism of prostaglandins and histamines, which are involved in bronchoconstriction. One study found that vitamin C decreased post-exercise cysteinyl leukotrienes and nitric oxide in people with asthma to reduce symptoms.
Helps with Gout– Research shows that vitamin C helps lower serum uric acid (SUA) associated with gout. The best results came from a combination of eating more vitamin C-rich foods and also taking vitamin C supplements. Of course, you should also follow other recommendations as far as which foods to avoid that can trigger an onset of symptoms, such as highly inflammatory foods. Many people find that they can control their gout attacks by making sure they don’t eat foods that act as triggers. You can read more about gout and what triggers it here.
Helps with Arthritis– Vitamin C has also been linked to helping soothe the symptoms of arthritis, thanks to its anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Vitamin C is also a co-factor for collagen, which is needed to keep your bones and joints strong. Research shows that vitamin C can be used as a safe and effective way to treat arthritis pain due to its analgesic properties. It’s wise to try to get the proper amount of all of your vitamins, and not focus primarily on vitamin C, but with its ability to help keep your joints healthy, it’s one that you particularly don’t want to overlook. Up your intake of vitamin C foods, and also consider using a supplement if you find you can’t eat enough to get your levels right.
Prevents Cataracts– There is plenty of evidence to show that vitamin C helps with your eye health in general, but more specifically it has been shown to make a drastic difference in whether or not you’ll develop cataracts in time. According to the American Optometric Association, vitamin C supplemention can reduce the risk of developing cararacts. Keep in mind that you’ll need to keep up with your vitamin C levels daily and on an ongoing basis in order to reap the benefits.
Prevents Stroke– Not only has vitamin C been shown to help prevent strokes, but it’s a key nutrient to have in your body for post-stroke recovery. It’s understood that Vitamin C is good for your overall brain health, helping to keep things running smoothly, but it’s the combination of lowering your cholesterol, and helping with your arteries that gives it its stroke prevention features. This combo helps to prevent the blockages and clotting that leads to a stroke. It’s easy enough to start eating foods that contain higher amounts of vitamin C, especially if you have a family history of stroke and heart disease.
Prevents Premature Skin Aging– This is one instance where you are using vitamin C as a topical treatment, but we also recommended ingesting it to help fight UV damage from the inside out. One study found that topical applications of vitamin C helped rejuvenate skin. Because of its ability to help the skin produce collagen, it’s being used as a beauty regimen to help skin retain its youthful look. It is specifically used to help treat skin that has been damaged by the sun. A smart idea would be to also make sure that you’re taking in enough vitamin C through the food you eat, as it has been shown to be an antioxidant that works wonders on the free radicals in the body. Here are some other foods that can help give you great skin.
Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s– You’ll want to summon the dynamic duo of both vitamin C and vitamin E to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. These antioxidants have particularly been singled out as providing great benefit to the brain, keeping it healthy and preventing the sort of damage that leads to Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions. Make sure that you’re getting a daily serving of vitamin C and vitamin E foods to give yourself the best chance of avoiding it. Of course, you’ll also want to keep the mind active, and take other preventive measures if Alzheimer’s runs in your family.
Helps Prevent Kidney Stones and Gallstones– If you’re worried about kidney stones, you should start getting more vitamin C, as this helps to break them down before they can become a problem. This is due to the acidic effect that the ascorbic acid in vitamin C provides. You’ll want to be careful not to get too much vitamin C as research shows that excessive amounts can actually cause kidney stones. As far as gallstones go, it’s the same ascorbic acid at work here, this time reducing the amount of cholesterol in your bile so that these stones aren’t able to form from excessive cholesterol deposits. We recommend getting your vitamin C from foods and not to overdo it with the supplements when treating kidney stones.
Lowers Lead Levels– Vitamin C has been shown to lower the amount of lead in the body for those that may be worried that they’re consuming too much of it. Humans can come into contact with lead through any number of ways, including the food that we eat, the water that we drink, and even in the air that we breathe. Assisting the body in eliminating this potentially toxic metal is important for the proper functioning of several key organs. Here are some other foods you can eat to naturally detox the body.
Helps with Anemia– Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, reducing the likelihood that you’ll run low on this essential mineral. Running a vitamin C shortage is not very common, but if you do it could lead to a case of anemia because your body won’t be able to hold onto the small amount of iron you are getting. Along with proper amounts of vitamin B12, you’ll need to pay attention to your vitamin C intake to make sure that it doesn’t lag behind. If you’ve noticed that you’re taking what should be enough iron, it could be that your body just isn’t processing it correctly due to vitamin deficiencies.
Helps Muscle Recovery– Getting the proper balance of all of your vitamins is key to helping your muscles rebuild and repair after a strenuous workout. Lacking any of the most powerful antioxidants may contribute to extended periods of soreness. This is why many bodybuilding supplements also include vitamin C in them, but you should focus more on eating foods that are high in vitamin C. Research shows that vitamin C can help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. Here are some other nutrients that can help with muscle recovery.
Helps with Testosterone Levels– Making sure that you’re getting enough vitamin C is helpful in maintaining the proper testosterone levels. This is because it assists in keeping a good ratio between the amount of cortisol and the amount of testosterone in the body. It’s not a one-stop miracle cure for those that have been told they have low testosterone levels, but as part of a comprehensive approach it’s a vitamin you don’t want to be deficient in for any extended amount of time. Be sure to make it whole foods that you’re getting your vitamin C from, so that you don’t overload on it.
It’s always best to get your vitamin C from natural sources, and not from synthetic supplements like a multivitamin. If you find that you’re not able to get your daily recommended value of vitamin C, then use a whole food supplement so that your body can assimilate it better. Also, there’s no reason to load up on excessive amounts as long as you’re getting your daily needs met on a daily basis. Take a comprehensive approach and get all of your vitamins in check so that you can make sure nothing is falling through the nutritional cracks. Check out this list of 34 foods that are high in vitamin C to help you met your daily requirements.
Not eating enough fruits & veggies? You may be vitamin C deficient.
Vitamin C FAQ
Does vitamin C affect the pill?
Some research shows that taking excessively high amounts of vitamin C can affect ovary function and disrupt the functioning of the pill. This is because high levels of vitamin C can interact with estrogen. If you take a vitamin C supplement while on the pill, we recommend keeping your doses low or getting your vitamin C from whole foods only to reduce the risk of taking too much.
Is vitamin C bad for you?
Too much of anything can be bad for you, and such is the case with vitamin C. Taking excessive amounts of vitamin C in tablet or pill form is not recommended, as the body won’t be able to use it and could end up converting it into toxic substances. The best way to increase your vitamin C is to eat foods that are high in it, and stop at the recommended daily values. This way you know that you’re getting the right amount, and you’re getting it from food that your body knows what to do with.
Does vitamin C absorb iron?
Vitamin C directly affects how much iron is absorbed by the body. This is important because getting more iron doesn’t exactly mean that your body will use it, and you could still be deficient in iron even if you are increasing your intake. By combining it with an increase in vitamin C, you are increasing the bioavailability of the iron, which is the most important part.
Will vitamin C affect sleep?
If you’re worried that vitamin C will keep you up at night, or help you to fall asleep, no clinical studies have confirmed that it has any noticeable effect on your sleep, one way or the other. Some vitamins have been known to help you fall asleep more easily, but vitamin C is not known for this attribute.
Is vitamin C an antioxidant?
Yes, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, and does its part to help with free radical damage.
Will vitamin C cause pimples?
There is no research to show that vitamin C causes acne. In fact, some research shows that vitamin C can help improve your skin health. The best way to reduce your acne is by eliminating refined sugar and dairy from your diet.
Does vitamin C remove hair dye?
Vitamin C has been shown to remove the effects of using too much hair dye, but this is in regards to a treatment, and not from consuming more vitamin C or taking a supplement.
Does vitamin C lighten skin?
Studies show that vitamin C may have skin lightening properties due to its ability to reduce melanin oxidation and production.
Is vitamin C FDA approved?
Vitamins are not subject to FDA approval or disapproval. This is because the FDA considers vitamins and mineral supplements to be a food product and not necessarily a medication.
Does vitamin C help with constipation?
Vitamin C taken in large doses as a supplement has been shown to provide laxative effects. It’s suggested that establishing and maintaining healthy levels of vitamin C is a preferred method to prevent constipation, rather than overloading on it in order to trigger a bowel movement.
Will vitamin C burn fat?
Getting the proper amount of antioxidants in the body helps it to fire on all cylinders. When this happens you are more energetic, and your metabolism should increase naturally. A byproduct of this is that you should be able to burn fat more effectively, but the credit cannot be given to vitamin C alone, since it requires a more broad approach.
Is vitamin C found in milk?
Yes, there is vitamin C in milk, about 10% of the recommended daily value for an adult. However, we recommend getting your vitamin C content from plant-based foods instead of dairy as it tends to be highly inflammatory.
Does vitamin C build muscle?
There is no research to show that vitamin C helps build muscle, but it can help you recovery from post-exercise muscle soreness.
Is vitamin C fattening?
No evidence suggests that vitamin C leads to fat gain. It’s still not a good idea to take too much of it, and the Mayo Clinic reminds us that if you’re following a proper diet, your vitamin C levels should be just fine.
Does vitamin C cure cancer?
Vitamin C has been shown to help repair damage done to DNA, which has a direct link to cancerous mutations. Research shows that taking mega doses of vitamin C can kill cancer cells and make cancer treatments more effective.
Will vitamin C cause gas?
Taking too much vitamin C, especially in supplement form, has the side effect of potentially causing gas. This is why it’s better to get your vitamin C from natural sources, as it is unlikely that you can overdo it and you avoid all of the side effects that come with synthetic sources.
Is vitamin C from the sun?
Vitamin C does not come from the sun. That’s vitamin D. vitamin C is not produced by the body, which is why you need to keep an eye on the sort of foods you’re eating to make sure you don’t run low.
Does vitamin C fight infections?
Vitamin C boosts your immune system, which helps you to avoid infections in the first place, and shorten the amount of time you have them if you do get them.
Will vitamin C help a sore throat?
For some, a sore throat is the first sign of an incoming cold, so the thought is that if you ramp up your vitamin C you’ll be able to avoid getting a full blown cold. Helping the body’s immune system is always a good idea, whether you have a sore throat or not. If your throat is already sore, it might not be able to do much for it in the present moment, but may be able to help you kick any accompanying cold.
Is vitamin C destroyed by cooking?
It’s possible to cook the vitamin C right out of vegetables that have it. That’s why it’s best to lightly steam your veggies until they’re soft enough to eat so you preserve this fragile nutrient. Keep cooking times to below 10 minutes no matter which way you go.
Does vitamin C give you energy?
According to one study, vitamin C supplementation reduced fatigue in office workers. The best way to naturally energize yourself is to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in refined sugar and other inflammatory foods.
Will vitamin C fight the flu?
Several years ago, there was a spike in the popularity of vitamin C tablets and packets that you were meant to consume at the first sign of a cold. The theory was that it would help to reduce the time you have the flu. While vitamin C does provide benefits to the immune system, loading up on it has its own side effects and does not mean you’ll be doubling the benefits by taking twice as much as is needed.
Is vitamin C a diuretic?
If you stick to natural sources of vitamin C, you probably won’t notice a diuretic effect. But if you are taking it in supplement form, one known reaction is that it acts as a diuretic. It’s suggested that you should drink more water while taking them to replace the excess fluid loss.
Does vitamin C help gout?
Vitamin C has proven to be quite helpful in preventing gout, and also to help keep symptoms at bay if you’ve already developed it.
Is vitamin C citric acid?
No. This is a common misconception because citric starts with the letter c, and the two are typically found in conjunction with each other. They both occur naturally in citrus fruits, but there is no vitamin C contained in citric acid.
Does vitamin C help hair growth?
Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen, which can help your hair grow. additionally, vitamin C fights free radical damage that might be damaging to your hair follicles.
Will vitamin C help a UTI?
The ascorbic acid from vitamin C can help to acidify your urine, which has been shown to help prevent a UTI from developing, but whether or not it will help with a preexisting UTI remains to be proven.
Is vitamin C calcium?
Vitamin C helps the body absorb calcium, so it is a good nutrient to take in along with calcium, but the two are not the same, even though calcium does start with the letter c.
Does vitamin C increase progesterone?
Yes, higher levels of vitamin C have been shown to increase progesterone. This is one thing to keep in mind when taking birth control pills.
Is vitamin C acidic?
Vitamin C contains asorbic acid, but we recommend eating vitamin C in whole food form as part of an alklaine diet to help balance pH levels.
Does vitamin C increase estrogen?
You can increase your estrogen levels by increasing your vitamin C. Women can find enough vitamin C in certain foods in order to raise their levels, and there is no need for synthetic supplementation.
Will vitamin C induce your period?
Because vitamin C has been shown to elevate your estrogen and progesterone levels, it might be able to help bring on your period. However, there is no evidence to currently support this claim.