Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning that the body is incapable of producing it. However, it has multiple functions and has been associated with outstanding health advantages. Numerous fruits and vegetables contain this water-soluble compound, including oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach. Vitamin C has a recommended daily intake of 75 mg for women and 90 mg for males (1Trusted Source). Despite the general recommendation to obtain vitamin C from foods, many individuals rely on supplements to achieve their needs.
Here are seven scientifically confirmed advantages of vitamin C supplementation.
1. May lower the risk of chronic disease
Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that can enhance the body’s natural defences (2). Antioxidants are chemicals that enhance immunity. They accomplish this by defending cells against dangerous chemicals known as free radicals.
When free radicals build, they can cause oxidative stress, which has been associated with numerous chronic diseases (3Trusted Source). According to studies, ingesting additional vitamin C can boost blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%. This aids the body’s natural anti-inflammatory defences.
2. May assist in managing excessive blood pressure
Approximately one-third of American adults suffer with hypertension . High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide . Vitamin C may reduce blood pressure in both persons with and without hypertension, according to studies. A study on animals discovered that taking a vitamin C supplement helped relax the blood arteries that carry blood away from the heart, so lowering blood pressure (8Trusted Source).
In addition, a study of 29 human trials revealed that healthy adults who took a vitamin C supplement had lower systolic blood pressure (the upper value) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower value) on average. Vitamin C supplements lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.7 mmHg in people with high blood pressure. Although these results are encouraging, it is unclear whether they have lasting impact on blood pressure. Moreover, individuals with hypertension should not rely solely on vitamin C for treatment.
3. May reduce your risk of cardiovascular illness
Worldwide, heart disease is the leading cause of death. High blood pressure, high triglyceride or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol all raise the risk of heart disease. Vitamin C may help minimise these risk factors, hence decreasing the risk of heart disease. An study of 9 trials including a total of 293,172 participants revealed, for instance, that after 10 years, those who consumed at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not.
Intriguingly, a second meta-analysis of 15 trials indicated that taking vitamin C from foods, as opposed to supplements, was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists were uncertain, however, as to whether persons who consumed vitamin-C-rich foods also led a healthier lifestyle than those who took a supplement. Thus, it is unknown if the changes were caused by vitamin C or other dietary factors. The effects of consuming at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily on cardiovascular disease risk variables, such as blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, were examined in a meta-analysis of 13 trials.
The investigation revealed that supplementation with vitamin C significantly decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7.9 mg/dL and blood triglycerides by 20.1 mg/dL. It appears that taking or drinking at least 500 mg of vitamin C each day may minimise the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, if you currently consume a diet rich in vitamin C, supplements may not give further benefits for heart health.
4. May lower blood uric acid levels and assist in preventing gout attacks.
Gout is a form of arthritis that affects about 4 percent of adult Americans.It is excruciatingly painful and involves joint inflammation, particularly in the great toes. People with gout have swelling and acute, abrupt pain attacks. Symptoms of gout manifest when there is an excess of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product that the body produces. At elevated concentrations, it might crystallise and accumulate in the joints.
Several studies have found that vitamin C may reduce uric acid levels in the blood, hence protecting against gout attacks. In a study of 1,387 men, those who drank the most vitamin C had much lower levels of uric acid in their blood than those who consumed the least. Another study tracked 46,994 healthy males for 20 years to investigate if vitamin C consumption was associated with the onset of gout. It was discovered that vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of gout by 44%.
In addition, a meta-analysis of 13 research revealed that taking a vitamin C supplement for 30 days lowered blood uric acid considerably compared to a placebo. While there appears to be a high correlation between vitamin C intake and uric acid levels, additional research is required to determine the impact of vitamin C on gout.
5. Helps prevent iron deficiency
Iron is an essential nutrient with multiple activities in the body. It is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen throughout the body. Iron absorption from the food can be enhanced by taking vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C helps transform iron that is poorly absorbed, such as plant-based iron sources, into a more absorbable form.
This is particularly important for vegetarians, as meat is a key source of iron. In fact, taking just 100 mg of vitamin C may increase iron absorption by 67%. Consequently, vitamin C may lessen the incidence of anaemia in iron-deficient individuals. A vitamin C supplement was administered to 65 children with mild iron deficiency anaemia in one trial. Researchers discovered that the supplement alone was sufficient to treat their anaemia.
Consuming more vitamin-C-rich meals or taking a vitamin C supplement may help increase your blood iron levels if you have low iron levels.
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