The Importance of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most talked about vitamins. The nutrient gets special buzz for its immune-boosting potential. However, vitamin C’s ability to shorten the common cold only scratches the surface of its role in the body.
This antioxidant isn’t naturally made by the body, so it’s crucial to obtain it from vitamin C rich foods such as red and green bell peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, and Brussel sprouts.
7 Scientific Health Benefits of Vitamin C
1. Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis. The body depends on vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen, which is found in connective tissue around the body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and plays a critical role in connective tissues found in our organs, hair, skin, and nails.
2. Vitamin C combines with iron leads to better absorption. Another plus to vitamin C is how it interacts with other vitamins and minerals in the body, such as iron. Iron supports proper growth and development, aids the body’s ability to deliver oxygen throughout the body, and helps make certain hormones.
3. It plays a role in enhanced brain function. Vitamin C plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis and cognitive function. Neurotransmitters are important for sending messages from the brain to the rest of the body, and more vitamin C may be associated with increased brain function.
4. Its antioxidant properties help guard against chronic disease. Many of the benefits of vitamin C can be traced to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can protect against the development of serious health conditions, such as cancer or heart disease.
5. Vitamin C strengthens the immune systems. Perhaps vitamin C’s best-known benefit is the positive effect it has on the immune system. Vitamin C has been found to support the immune system by protecting against oxidative stress, aiding in microbial killing, and decreasing the potential for tissue damage. Also, a deficiency in this vitamin has been shown to increase the rate of infections.
6. Vitamin C may bolster cancer treatment. Eating a diet filled with vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies appears to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, but research isn’t clear about whether that’s directly related to the vitamin C content, or the result of following a healthy diet more generally. It does seem vitamin C may make radiation and chemotherapy more effective when taken intravenously in extra-high doses.
7. Antioxidant-rich vitamin C protects the eyes. The American Optometric Association notes that vitamin C can lower the risk of developing cataracts and can also help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Previous research has found taking 500 mg per day as part of a daily supplement slowed the progression of the disease among people with moderate AMD.