Ascorbic acid, more commonly referred to as Vitamin C, is chock full of health benefits, and we’re not just talking about helping to alleviate symptoms of the common cold. This versatile vitamin plays an important role in helping to sustain a healthy body and mind.
1. Cardiovascular Health – Fighting Heart Attacks / Cancer / Stroke
Studies have found a correlation between Vitamin C intake and low plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. CRP is linked to inflammation, which is a possible precursor for increased risk of heart disease.
A 10-year study by University of California Dr. James Enstrom revealed a 40 percent heart disease risk reduction in women and a 50 percent risk reduction in men who took 300mg vitamin C supplements daily. Low levels of vitamin C have been associated with stroke, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, which is the blood vessel plaque buildup that can lead to stroke and heart attack.
Though vitamin C won’t lower your cholesterol levels, it may help protect your arteries from damage. This amazing micronutrient seems to plays an important role in lowering the risk of coronary artery disease. It may even help to enhance the health benefits you gain from exercising.
Lots of research points towards the benefits of vitamin E in treating asthma or alleviating its symptoms, primarily with exercise-induced asthma. Additionally, some asthmatic children were shown to experience less wheezing in one study involving the consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C. This micronutrient’s anti-inflammatory properties may assist in keeping airways open.
Vitamin C may help support healthy blood sugar levels in those suffering from diabetes, and some studies demonstrate reductions in plasma free radicals and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in diabetics as well.
4. Prenatal Health
Pregnant women at high risk of pre-eclampsia may benefit from a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E supplements. Vitamin C has also been shown to decrease incidences of urinary tract infections in pregnant women.
Must Read: List of Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Scientific studies support the belief that vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron and oral iron supplements. Anemia reflects a shortage of red blood cells, which is linked to an iron deficiency.
6. Stress / Depression / Dementia / ADHD
Vitamin C is key in the production of neurotransmitters. These brain chemicals impact your ability to concentrate, focus and recall. They also impact mood, addictions, cravings and more. Additionally, this vitamin supports the quick removal of cortisol in a stressful situation. Cortisol is a primary stress hormone impacting sugars in your bloodstream.
Many people take vitamin C supplements to fight off dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, fatigue, ADHD and other maladies of this kind. Some studies have revealed low vitamin C levels in individuals with Alzheimer’s. The theory behind this is the ongoing higher level of oxidative stress these individuals experience, as well as inflammation and damage triggered by neurodegenerative diseases. Many see a correlation between the perceived vitamin C deficiency and dementia, and seek to combat the disease with increased vitamin C intake.
7. Colds & the Immune System
As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help fight free radicals that attack the immune system. There’s been plenty of debate about the effectiveness of Vitamin C against the common cold, although many people swear that it helps to reduce the severity and duration of their symptoms. Essentially, Vitamin C seems to work best with other micronutrients for providing immune system benefits.
8. Wrinkles /Skin / Aging
Vitamin C has long been touted as a boon for healthy, glowing skin and hair. It’s added to skin moisturizers, face masks and other beauty products to reap these benefits. There’s also numerous home remedies that include Vitamin C and its sources to enhance the appearance of youth and health.
This wonderful vitamin is reputed to improve the skin’s elasticity which prevents sagging and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. As a protectant, Vitamin C shields the skin from harmful UV rays that speed the aging process, further supporting younger looking skin.
9. Fight age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a leading cause of legal blindness in U.S. residents over the age of 55. Studies have found that Vitamin C has been effective in fighting AMD when combined with zinc, vitamin E and beta-carotene. These antioxidants may work together to prevent or delay the onset of AMD.
10. Wounds, Bone & Joint Health
Vitamin C is essential in collagen production which helps with wound healing and burns. It also promotes strong connective tissue which contributes to bone health maintenance. Vitamin C has also been associated with maintaining healthy gums.