Vitamin C is an essential micro-nutrient, meaning your body can’t produce it. Yet, it has many roles and has been linked to impressive health benefits. The FDA Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) for adults and children 4 years and above is 90 mg. Many nutrition experts consider this intake to be far too low due to environmental toxins, agricultural depletion and physical stresses placed on our body's immune system.
Here are 5 scientifically proven benefits of taking a vitamin C supplement.
First, vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection (1).
Second, vitamin C helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals.
Third, vitamin C is an essential part of the skin’s defense system. It’s actively transported to the skin, where it can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin’s barriers (2).
What’s more, low vitamin C levels have been linked to poor health outcomes. For example, people who have pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten the recovery time (3, 4).
2. May reduce your risk of chronic disease
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s natural defenses (5).
Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system. They do so by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals.
When free radicals accumulate, they can promote a state known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases (6).
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that can boost your blood antioxidant levels. This may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
3. May help manage high blood pressure
Approximately one-third of American adults have high blood pressure (9).
High blood pressure puts you at risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death globally (10).
Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in both those with and without high blood pressure.
An animal study found that taking a vitamin C supplement helped relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helped reduce blood pressure levels (11).
In adults with high blood pressure, vitamin C supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 mmHg, on average (12).
4. May lower your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (13).
Many factors increase the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, high triglyceride or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Vitamin C may help reduce these risk factors, which may reduce heart disease risk.
For example, an analysis of 13 studies looked at the effects of taking at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily on risk factors for heart disease, such as blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The analysis found that taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by approximately 7.9 mg/dL and blood triglycerides by 20.1 mg/dL (14).
In short, it seems that taking or consuming at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, if you already consume a vitamin-C-rich diet, then supplements may not provide additional heart health benefits.
Iron is an important nutrient that has a variety of functions in the body. It’s essential for making red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body.
Vitamin C supplements can help improve the absorption of iron from the diet. Vitamin C assists in converting iron that is poorly absorbed, such as plant-based sources of iron, into a form that is easier to absorb (15).
This is especially useful for people on a meat-free diet, as meat is a major source of iron.
In fact, simply consuming 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67% (16).
As a result, vitamin C may help reduce the risk of anemia among people prone to iron deficiency.
In one study, 65 children with mild iron deficiency anemia were given a vitamin C supplement. Researchers found that the supplement alone helped control their anemia (17).
If you have low iron levels, consuming more vitamin-C-rich foods or taking a vitamin C supplement may help improve your blood iron levels.
Vitamin C can improve the absorption of iron that is poorly absorbed, such as iron from meat-free sources. It may also reduce the risk of iron deficiency.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Vitamin C is a water-soluble micro-nutrient that must be obtained from the diet or through supplementation.
It has been linked to many impressive health benefits, such as boosting antioxidant levels, lowering blood pressure, protecting against gout attacks, improving iron absorption, boosting immunity, and reducing heart disease and dementia risk.
Overall, vitamin C supplements (such as our NON-GMO Vitamin C Powder) are a great and simple way to boost your Vitamin C intake if you struggle to get enough from your diet.