What You Need to Know About Vitamin C (Spoiler Alert: It’s not just for immunity!)
We grew up being schooled on the importance of vitamin C, especially when cold and flu season rolls around. But there’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to this vitamin.
Keep reading as we delve into the history, biology, and benefits of vitamin C. (Heck, we’ll even throw in a few fun facts to share with your friends!)
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is also known as L-ascorbic acid. Although citrus foods get much attention in the C department, there are plenty of other vitamin-C-rich foods. It’s also widely available in supplement form.
Vitamin C plays a huge role in our bodies. Mainly, it’s needed to produce collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters. It’s also needed for protein metabolism.
This Swiss Army knife of vitamins does so much more than boost immunity. It is an essential component of connective tissue, which plays a vital role in wound healing. It also helps our body better absorb nutrients like iron, which in turn helps our body sustain, repair and further develop.
We humans, unlike most other animals, can’t produce enough vitamin C in our bodies (blame it on evolution!). Therefore, we must achieve our daily intake via dietary or supplementary means.
Now, as promised, here are some interesting C tidbits to impress your friends with…
Fun Fact #1
Before the discovery of vitamin C in 1928 made scurvy a disease of the past, vitamin C deficiency disease was a major cause of illness, afflicting some two million sailors whose shipboard diets lacked this nutrient. The British Navy gave its sailors limes or lemon juice rations to ward off scurvy – earning them the nickname "Limeys."
Fun Fact #2
Advanced cases of scurvy can cause old wounds to reopen. That’s because there isn’t enough collagen left in your body to continue creating scar tissue, so old wounds may start opening. That’s how important it is for our connective tissues!
Fun Fact #3
Ever had bleeding gums? It could be that you’re low on vitamin C. One study found that low vitamin C levels in the bloodstream were associated with an increased risk of gum bleeding with gentle probing. Fortunately, the researchers also observed that upping vitamin C intake can help resolve the problem. Another study found that adequate vitamin C may help prevent periodontal disease.
5 Surprising Benefits of Vitamin C
- Skin Health: Vitamin C is loaded with powerful antioxidants that help protect our skin from harmful free radicals to avoid skin damage from appearing. Studies also suggest that Vitamin C plays a role in synthesizing collagen, making it a great anti-aging solution to keep fine lines, wrinkles, crow's feet, dryness, and sunspots from showing up as we age.
- Connective Tissue Repair: Because vitamin C is involved in collagen synthesis, it’s important for athletes of all ilk, especially those who lift weights. And since it’s an antioxidant, it protects muscle cells from free radical damage, enhancing recovery and growth.
- Brain Health: Studies prove that proper vitamin C intake can help protect us from a decline in cognitive function. Maintaining high levels of this vitamin may also help some of us avoid more long-term cognitive issues from surfacing.
- Eye Health: Vitamin C's antioxidant-rich properties have been proven to be one of the best ways to avoid age-related macular degeneration and subsequent impaired vision.
- Gut Health: One study found that vitamin C can improve your gut barrier function, which helps your body absorb nutrients and protect you from certain toxins. It can also help balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Recommended Intake (and how much is too much)
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin C for adults 19+ is 90 mg for males and 75 mg for women who are not pregnant or lactating. Smokers require an additional 35 mg daily.
According to the National Institute of Health, excessive amounts of vitamin C can cause gut-related issues like diarrhea, cramps, and nausea because of how your gastrointestinal tract reacts to the unabsorbed (or excess) vitamin C.
Sources of Vitamin C
We’ve already given a shout-out to citrus, but other vitamin C heroes include sweet red pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and tomato juice, to name a few.
We may strive to eat all these things, but what if we don’t always? Supplementing is a great option. However, as with all supplements, you’ll want to do your homework.
Here’s the thing, vitamin C is useless if your body isn’t absorbing it efficiently. That’s why we recommend Liposomal Vitamin C. It’s an antioxidant-rich supplement that utilizes liposomal technology to help promote the bioavailability of vitamin C.†
If you still have questions about vitamin C, contact our knowledgeable customer service crew, M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (800) 940-1972 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Carpenter KJ. The discovery of vitamin C. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;61(3):259-64.
3 Lee JH, et al. The association of dietary vitamin C intake with periodontitis among Korean adults: Results from KNHANES IV. PLoS One. 2017 May 10;12(5):e0177074.