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  • Dr Jessica Herzog

20 Critical Benefits of Vitamin C: Are You Getting Enough?

As a functional and integrative health practitioner, I love talking about the power of nutrition and how it can benefit your health. So, let's talk about vitamin C.

Photo by Stephanie Harvey

Vitamin C is a nutrient that's been making waves since the 18th century. James Lind, a Scottish physician, discovered the link between vitamin C and scurvy, a disease that plagued sailors on long sea voyages for centuries. Lind's experiments on sailors suffering from scurvy showed that citrus fruits, which are rich in vitamin C, could prevent and cure the disease.

Fast forward to the 20th century, when Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Hungarian biochemist, isolated vitamin C from animal tissues and named it ascorbic acid due to its ability to prevent and cure scurvy. Szent-Györgyi's discovery of vitamin C opened doors to further research on the nutrient's role in human health.

What does vitamin C do for you?

Vitamin C is equally important today. It is a vital nutrient that plays a crucial role in many body functions. It is essential for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases, as well as living your most vibrant life. It is required for the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure to skin, bones, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Do you have a specific health concern? Check out these 20 critical health benefits of vitamin C.

  1. Boosts Immune System: Vitamin C is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. It enhances the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infections and diseases.

  2. Promotes Wound Healing: Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, a protein that helps heal wounds and promote tissue repair.

  3. Supports Skin Health: Vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin by promoting collagen synthesis, reducing oxidative stress, and protecting against sun damage.

  4. Supports Heart Health: Vitamin C helps reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and reducing inflammation.

  5. Reduces Chronic Pain: Vitamin C has been shown to reduce pain levels in people with chronic pain conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  6. Supports Brain Health: Vitamin C has been shown to improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.

  7. Supports Eye Health: Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy eyes and can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

  8. Helps Prevent Cancer: Vitamin C has been shown to help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, reducing the risk of cancer.

  9. Promotes Bone Health: Vitamin C helps the body absorb calcium, promoting bone growth and preventing osteoporosis.

  10. Helps Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia: Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from plant-based sources, reducing the risk of iron-deficiency anemia.

  11. Supports Gut Health: Vitamin C helps maintain the integrity of the gut lining, reducing inflammation, and preventing digestive disorders.

  12. Supports Respiratory Health: Vitamin C helps reduce the severity and duration of respiratory infections, such as the common cold and flu.

  13. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar: Vitamin C can help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes.

  14. Improves Mood: Vitamin C has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  15. Supports Liver Health: Vitamin C helps protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and free radicals, improving liver function.

  16. Helps Prevent Kidney Stones: Vitamin C can help prevent the formation of kidney stones by increasing urine volume and pH.

  17. Supports Thyroid Function: Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the production of thyroid hormones, supporting thyroid function.

  18. Reduces Allergy Symptoms: Vitamin C can help reduce allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation and histamine levels.

  19. Improves Dental Health: Vitamin C can help reduce the risk of gum disease and promote healthy teeth and gums.

  20. Enhances Exercise Performance: Vitamin C can improve exercise performance by reducing muscle damage and oxidative stress.

Are you getting enough vitamin C?

Here’s the catch. Your body cannot make vitamin C so you must get it from your food. From a functional medicine perspective, a balanced diet that includes vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, and leafy greens, is crucial for optimal health. In some cases, supplementation may be necessary to address vitamin C deficiencies or health conditions.

If you’re concerned about a health challenge that might be improved with adequate vitamin C, consult with your Blue Pebble Health practitioner to determine the appropriate vitamin C dosage and delivery method for your individual needs.

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