Vitamin C is the most familiar of all the nutrients because of its widespread use as a dietary supplement. Vitamin C is very critical to human beings and all mammals can use their own cells to make Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in our body and because the body does not store Vitamin C in its tissue, we need to consume it on its regular basis.
Our body needs Vitamin C to make collagen – a protein that helps support tendons, ligaments and blood vessels and keeps the skin and other organs together. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant based foods and helps to strengthen our immunity system to work properly protecting us from diseases.
Vitamin C Foods and Sources:
- Fruits and vegetables are the best source of Vitamin C. You won’t really require Vitamin C supplements as Vitamin C is already available in ample amounts in food sources and you can get the recommended amount of Vitamin C by incorporating foods in your diet.
- Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and their juices, as well as red and green pepper and kiwi fruit contain a huge content of Vitamin C. Other fruits and vegetables which include Vitamin C are broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C is also available widely in the form of dietary supplements. It is available in many forms including, tablets, capsule, drink mix pack packets and crystalline powder. Tablets and capsule range from 25 mg to 1500 mg. Vitamin C crystals are typically available in bottles containing 100 grams to 500 grams of powder. 1 teaspoon of Vitamin C crystals equals to 500 mg.
The Vitamin C content in food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming and microwaving can also reduce Vitamin C content.
Vitamin C Chart of Requirement:
The amount of vitamin C needed depends on the age.
|Birth to 6 months||40mg|
|Infants between 7 to 8 months||50 mg|
|Children between 1 to 3 years||15 mg|
|Children between 4 to 8 years||25 mg|
|Children between 9 to13 years||45 mg|
|Teens between 14 to 18 years (boys)||75 mg|
|Teens between 14 to 18 years (girls)||65 mg|
|Adults (women)||75 mg|
|Pregnant women||85 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||120 mg|
|Pregnant women||85 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||120 mg|
Deficiency of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C deficiency is rare because almost all the food that we include in our diet contain some amount of Vitamin C. Smoking cigarettes lowers the absorption of Vitamin C so smokers have a higher risk of Vitamin C deficiency.
Signs of Vitamin C deficiency include:
- Dry and splitting hair
- Gingivitis or inflammation of gums, bleeding of gums, rough, dry and scaly skin.
- Reduction of wound healing rate, easy bruising, nosebleed
- Decreased ability to ward off infections
- The most severe form of Vitamin C deficiency is scurvy. Scurvy leads to the formation of liver spots on the skin, spongy gums and bleeding from mucous membranes. A person with this ailment looks pale, feels depressed and is partially immobilised. In advanced scurvy there are open wound which subsequently leads to loss of teeth and eventually death.
- Low levels of vitamin C may lead to high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke, cancer and atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Make sure you eat enough Vitamin C foods to reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
Health Benefits of Vitamin C:
Uses of vitamin C will benefit your health in a great way. Read below to know the amazing health benefits:
A healthy dose of Vitamin C protects our body from infections and maintains healthy bones and teeth. It also improves our body’s ability to repair wounds and keeps us immune from bacteria, viruses and infection. Not only is it a well-known component of our immune system, it is also necessary for collagen, the main structural protein found in connective tissue. Vitamin C taken orally helps wound to heal faster and better. Applied topically, it protects the skin from free radical damage from exposure to UV rays.
2. Common cold:
Vitamin C reduces the severity of cold symptoms and acts as an effective antihistamine that lessens the unpleasant effects of common cold, including inflammation, runny nose and aches. It also controls the allergy that causes cold. It reduces histamine level and often shortens the duration of cold.
Vitamin C is a powerful and effective antioxidant that protects our body from free radicals that cause oxidative stress, or ”cellular rust” that can lead to a host of severe medical conditions such as atherosclerosis that can cause both heart disease and stroke.
Vitamin C has shown to lower blood pressure and decreases the probability of hypertension, as well as serious health problems that may accompany with high blood pressure.
5. Blood Vessels:
Vitamin C also ensures proper dilation of blood vessels which helps to protect us against certain diseases like atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, heart congestion and severe chest pains.
6. Lead Toxicity:
Vitamin C helps to lower the level of lead in our blood dramatically. Lead toxicity can lead to various behavioural and developmental problems, especially in children living in urban areas. This leads to learning disabilities, lowered IQ and stunted growth in children. Adults may suffer from kidney damage and high blood pressure owing to lead toxicity.
7. For Weight Loss:
Vitamin C fruits and juices are proven to help people lose fat and maintain healthy weight. Popular dieticians and nutritionists always include Vitamin C fruits and vegetables in diet charts because there is scientific evidence that shows that eating Vitamin C rich foods on a regular basis helps to lose weight significantly. Doctors have found that eating vitamin C fruits lowers insulin, thus instead of storing sugar and converting them to fats, it uses it as a fuel that leads to weight loss.
Vitamin C helps the body to deal with stress by reducing the elevated levels of stress, hormone and cortisol.
Our eye pupils require Vitamin C to function properly. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to cataracts, where the lens becomes increasing opaque, causing blurry vision and leads to blindness in adults. High intake of Vitamin C fights against cataracts and increases the amount of blood flow to the eye. 1000 mg Vitamin C per day stops cataracts in their tracks and improves vision.
Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties protect cells from DNA damage and mutation and protects from cancer in the long run. It supports the body immune system and prevents certain cancer forming compounds from forming in the body. It reduces the risk of development of all types of cancer including lung, mouth, throat, colon, stomach and oesophagus. Vitamin C also helps to regenerate Vitamin E which is another powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C does not directly attack cancer that has already occurred but keeps the immune system nourished and enables to battle against cancer.
Vitamin C balances our internal body systems under countless environmental conditions. It aids in the production of dopamine in the nervous system and supports adrenal function for increased metabolic energy.
12. Heart Disease:
Vitamin C prevents heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging the artery walls which could lead to plaque formation. This nutrient also keeps the cholesterol from oxidising which can cause heart stroke. High blood pressure problem can also be resolved with this wonder nutrient. All these factors combine to make Vitamin C an inexpensive and easy way to lower the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Diabetic patients can also benefit from Vitamin C as it helps to regulate sugar levels reducing the risk of getting diabetes and improves the symptoms of existing cases. Supplementing vitamin C forces glucose in the body cells where it protects against many complications of diabetes.
People with low level of Vitamin C have a high chance of developing asthma. Greater intake of Vitamin C will lessen the body’s production of histamine which contributes to inflammation.
Vitamin C Benefits For Skin:
Vitamin C is the most important ingredient used in skin care treatments. Its ability to provide effective shield against the sun has made it an indispensable ingredient used in the cosmetic industry.
[ Read: Best Vitamins for Skin ]
15. Sun Protection:
Vitamin C protects our skin from free radicals which we develop due to excess exposure to the sun, environmental pollution and regular smoking. The antioxidants in Vitamin C protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation and the effect of sunlight exposure.
Vitamin C helps to reduce sun burns caused by exposure to ultra violet radiation to a great extent. It not only reduces sunburns but also prevents the consequences of long term sun exposure, which can lead to skin cancer.
16. Production of Collagen:
It is a required component for the production of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, both of which are needed to bind the molecules that produce collagen. This in turn gives the skin firmness and tones the skin. Collagen deficiency makes the skin dull and lifeless. Collagen rejuvenates the skin from the roots and reduces wrinkles and symptoms of ageing.
17. Heals Wounds:
The body uses Vitamin C to replace damage tissue which helps to heal the wound in a faster pace. Wounds that heal slowly indicate vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C improves skin elasticity and helps to create scar tissue and ligaments for quick recovery.
18. Protects Against Skin Discolouration:
Vitamin C protects DNA from photochemical reactions that can lead to tumour, skin discolouration and several kinds of skin cancer. They also inhIbit the production of Pyrimidine dimers which are the primary cause of melanomas in human.
It lightens dark discoloration like skin freckles and age spots and helps to get younger and smoother skin.
19. Improves Skin Texture:
Collagen also provides structure for blood vessels. The tiny blood vessels under the skin carry oxygen and nutrients that keep the skin healthy. Without enough nutrients, the skin will become rough and dry. Creams containing Vitamin C improves the appearance and texture of the skin.
It increases elastin formation which thickens, protects and heals skin cells. The thickening effect helps to retain moisture, increases skin circulation and plumps up the skin surface.
Vitamin C Benefits For Hair:
In order to get a healthy mane, we need to eat healthy food. Healthy diet reflects on our skin and hair. Vitamin C is much more than an antioxidant and plays an important role in improving the health of our skin and hair. Vitamin C provides many benefits for hair.
20. Improves Hair Growth:
Low intake of Vitamin C may be a root cause for a number of hair related problems that affect our hair growth. Vitamin C deficiency may result in dry hair and split ends. These conditions are not favourable for hair to grow regularly.
Free radicals naturally form when our body turns food that we consume into glucose for energy production. These free radicals damage our hair by making it weak, brittle and thin. These conditions interrupt hair growth. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties reduce the formation of free radicals and minimises its effect on our body. Having an adequate supply of Vitamin C in our diet is essential for antioxidant protection against free radicals.
People who take huge amount of Vitamin C have healthy, strong and thick hair.
[ Read: Best Vitamins for Hair Growth ]
21. Fights Dandruff:
Our hair follicles often get clogged due to dandruff and dry flaky skin. This can damage the hair follicles if not treated and also inhibit hair growth. Vitamin C helps to fight the bacteria on the scalp. It wards off dandruff and helps to get rid of the follicles debris and encourage new hair to grow. It also helps with dry and itchy scalps because of its anti-viral properties.
22. Stops Hair Loss:
It is used to reverse Adrenal gland fatigue. This is crucial for stopping hair loss and encourages more hair growth since adrenal glands are a key to maintain proper hormonal balance.
[ Read: Best Vitamins for Hair Fall Control ]
23. Thicker Hair:
It also helps to improve blood circulation and strengthens and repairs capillaries too. This is particularly important for getting stronger, thicker hair.
24. Fights Hair Disorders:
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for damaged hair and thus treats and prevents a variety of hair disorders, which can damage the hair follicles and effect the normal growth of hair. A diet containing significant levels of Vitamin C can help to combat alopecia and baldness in men.
25. Prevents Greying Of Hair:
Vitamin C not only helps to combat hair loss but also helps to retain the natural colour by preventing premature ageing of the hair.
Now that you know the benefits of Vitamin C, make sure you are taking it in the recommended amounts. Please share your views with us if any. Here is a post on Tips to Cover Up Grey Hair
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