Vitamin C is probably one of the most recognised of all nutrients but perhaps one that is still significantly underestimated.
Vitamin C is a very popular supplement, especially in the lead up to winter. Last year, Britons spent a record £442 million on vitamins, 27% of which was on Vitamin C. This micronutrient is essential for the body, we cannot make Vitamin C ourselves so we have to get it either from food or from supplements.
Let’s take a look at this key vitamin and the amazing things it can do in the body.
Vitamin C aka Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C rich foods aren’t limited to oranges or other citrus fruits such as lemons, mandarins, limes and grapefruits. Vitamin C can also be found in higher concentrations in fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, parsley, kale, cauliflower, papaya, strawberries and spinach. But by boiling, frying, roasting or sauteing these vegetables, that valuable vitamin C will be destroyed. Eating freshly made salads, lightly steamed or quickly grilled vegetables will help maintain the vitamin C content.
Why is Vitamin C so good for you?
As we have already discussed, Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the body. It is commonly associated with supporting the immune system when fighting off coughs and colds but it is actually needed for a lot of other biochemical processes.
1. Boost your immune system – Vitamin C is needed by various bodily immune functions. It is needed for the stimulation of white blood cell production, function and activity. These are the important immune cells that are involved in protecting the body from invading micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi or viruses and they also help with wound healing.
Additionally, Vitamin C increases important immune antibody levels and function. Antibodies help to detect invading microorganisms and neutralise them.
Vitamin C is also is an important anti-viral nutrient, in high amounts it can help to stimulate interferon production which is an important anti-viral protein capable of inhibiting virus replication.
Vitamin C is also a potent anti-histamine; it can help increase diamine oxidase, an enzyme that can help to metabolise excess histamine, therefore reducing histamine levels in the body.
It is believed that a vitamin c deficiency has quite a considerable impact on general immune function and may lead to the early onset of many diseases and disorders.
2. Boost collagen production – Collagen is an integral part of connective tissue within the body, found in cartilage, ligaments and tendons, blood vessels, digestive tract, teeth and of course skin, eyes, muscles, bone and bone marrow.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient involved in the enzyme reaction needed to make collagen. Therefore any deficiency in vitamin C will directly impact on the body’s ability to produce collagen
Collagen is continuously made within the body depending on our own personal needs such as growth, tissue repair and joint care. As we age, the ability to make collagen slows down, look out for those wrinkles, but collagen deficiency may also contribute towards joint degradation and aches or poor hair growth.
3. Antioxidant – An anti-oxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation, removing damaging oxidising agents in a living organism.
The process of oxidation occurs when our cells make energy from the oxygen we breathe. This produces free radicals which interact within our cells causing free radical damage or “oxidative stress.”
This damage can affect all cells in the body; DNA and its replication, energy production and in the long term, impact upon healthy ageing. It is believed oxidative damage is involved in poor brain health, poor cardiovascular health, mitochondrial disease, cancers and metabolic disorders.
Antioxidants are found naturally in plant based foods especially those that are brightly coloured but also in dark chocolate, coffee, many herbs and even tea leaves.
We cannot avoid free radical damage so antioxidant supplementation is vital to help ensure the health of all of our cells and therefore promote healthy ageing.
4. Healthy, beautiful skin – Vitamin C is important for collagen production and is a powerful antioxidant, these are two very important factors for healthy skin.
Vitamin C is one of the crucial nutrients for proper wound healing along with zinc and vitamin E.
Vitamin C is transported by the blood to the skin and although vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, small concentrations of vitamin C have been found in the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin indicating its importance for skin health.
5. Boosts absorption of iron – There are two types of iron, non-heme and heme iron.
Non-heme iron is found in plant based foods such as grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits and beans. Heme iron-rich foods are red and white meat, seafood as well as some offal.
Non-heme iron is harder to absorb during digestion than heme iron but vitamin C significantly increases the absorption. It must be consumed at the same time however which makes a sensible case for regular supplementation.
This is particularly important for vegetarians and vegans who might naturally have a lower amount of iron consumption in their diet.
Children, the elderly, pregnant women and teenagers are also at risk of iron deficiency making healthy levels of vitamin C in the body all the more important.
6. Cardiovascular health – vitamin C is a must for good cardiovascular health; it helps to relax the blood vessels which is particularly important for those who have hardening of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis), keeping the arteries flexible.
Clinical trials indicate that vitamin C has been shown to be an effective therapy for reducing total cholesterol as well as the bad cholesterol LDL, a major risk factor for heart disease. Antioxidants are particularly important where there is poor cardiovascular health due to the oxidative damage that occurs.
It’s undisputed, Vitamin C is beneficial to good health, buy now from Nature’s Fix.
Ascorbyl Palmitate Powder 113.4g – Source Naturals£42.99 Out of Stock
Buffered Vitamin C (Quali-C Sodium Ascorbate) 250g – Nutriscript£21.99 Add to basket
Lipolife Gold – Liposomal Vitamin C – 250ml DOUBLE PACK
£69.98Add to basket
Vitamin C With Flavonoids – 180 Veggie Caps – Thorne£29.35 Add to basket