What is all the hype about Vitamin C? why do we need it and what does it do?

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential vitamin, meaning your body can’t produce it – you need to ingest it. Vit C is found in many fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, berries, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and spinach. While it’s commonly advised to get your vitamin C intake from foods, many people turn to supplements to meet their needs. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.

Vitamin c is needed by your body to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones as well as being vital to the healing process in your body.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system. They do so by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. (free radicals are molecules that form when the body breaks down food,is exposed to tobacco smoke, radiation, x-rays ) When free radicals accumulate, they can promote a state known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases.

Vitamin C supplements can help improve the absorption of iron from the diet. Vitamin C assists in converting iron into a form that is easier for our body to absorb. In fact, simply consuming 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67%.

One of the main reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to boost their immunity, as vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system.

This immune boosting takes place in various ways:

First, vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection.

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.

Studies have also shown that taking vitamin C may shorten wound healing time.

high vitamin C intake from food or supplements has been shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory as you age.

Other uses for Vitamin C include; lowering cancer risk for breast, lung and colon cancer. Reducing the severity of the common cold when taken regularly. Preventing age-related macular eye degeneration from worsening.

High doses of over 2000mg per day could have side effects eg. Nausea, stomach cramps, headache or skin flushing. Interactions with medication could also occur with higher doses eg. With certain chemotherapies, certain hormones, certain ARV’s and warfarin. Please check with your doctor if you are taking chronic medication combined with very high doses of vit c.

In summary Vitamin C is necessary for your body to functional optimally – ensure you eat a healthy diet containing fruit and vegetables every day!!