11 Amazing Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Benefits

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

The health benefits of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, include the prevention and management of scurvy, common cold, and lead toxicity. It aids in boosting the immune system, lowering hypertension, curing cataracts, combating stroke, maintaining the elasticity of the skin, healing wounds, and controlling the symptoms of asthma. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most effective and safest nutrients. It is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant in the synthesis of collagen, which helps make the blood vessels and muscles strong. The human body doesn’t have the capacity to generate vitamin C. Therefore, it needs to be received through food and other supplements.

Important Sources of Vitamin C

The important sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges and grapes. Strawberries, raspberries, cabbages, cauliflowers, other leafy vegetables, red peppers, potatoes, broccoli, chilies, watercresses, parsley, brussels sprouts, cantaloupes, mange touts, and kiwi fruits are also rich sources of this vitamin. Cooking food at low temperatures and for a shorter period is important to keep the vitamin C preserved and beneficial. [14]

Health Benefits of Vitamin C

The health benefits of this amazing antioxidant are explained in detail below:

Prevents Scurvy

Scurvy is caused by an insufficient intake or deficiency of ascorbic acid. The symptoms of scurvy are the weakening of connective tissues, bones, and blood vessels that include collagen. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is required to boost the production of collagen. [15]

Treats Common Cold

A 2013 report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests that ascorbic acid enhances the immune system of our body, which protects us from cold and cough. However, starting vitamin C supplementation when you feel a cold coming on may be significantly less helpful than regular inclusion of the acid in your diet. Here is some more information on how vitamin C can help with a cold. [16] [17]

Lowers Hypertension

People with hypertension are at high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. According to a 2012 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin C intake helps in lowering the body’s blood pressure in the short term. [18]

Foods rich in vitamin C (whole and halved sweet limes, red and yellow chili pepper, red cherries) with glasses of sweet lime juice and cherries on a wooden table

Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Acts as a Vasodilator Antioxidant

Treatment with vitamin C has effectively resulted in the proper dilation of blood vessels in the cases of atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, angina pectoris, and high blood pressure. A 2016 report published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, carried out epidemiologic research on vitamin C to study its potential role in cardiovascular diseases. Results have found that the supplements of this vitamin improve blood vessel dilation and protect cardiovascular health. [19]

Protects Against Lead Toxicity

Lower levels of vitamin C in the blood have been linked to higher levels of lead by a 1999 study published in the JAMA [20]. A more recent study found that ‘supplementation of 500 mg vitamin C daily for 1 month is sufficient enough to suppress the action of free radicals generated due to lead toxicity.’ This suggests that regular intake of ascorbic acid can protect against increased lead levels in the blood. [21]

Decreased Cataract Risk

Cataracts are one of the most common conditions of visual problems. A decrease in the level of vitamin C in the lens of the human eye has been found more common when cataracts are present. Excessive intake of ascorbic acid increases the blood supply to the ocular areas of the body. According to the American Optometric Association, when vitamin C is consumed with other essential nutrients, it can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss. [22]

Improves Mood

Vitamin C plays a key role in the production of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine. They affect the mood of a person and are critical to the proper functioning of the brain. A 2013 study revealed that short-term therapy with vitamin C improves mood and reduces psychological distress in those acutely hospitalized patients with a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis. [23]

Boosts Immunity

Immunity is another important benefit of this vitamin. Vitamin C is widely known for its contribution to the immune system and its stimulation of white blood vessels in the body.  A healthier immune system translates to better protection against infections and diseases. [24] [25]

Repairs Wounds

Vitamin C helps repair wounds. It facilitates the growth of the connective tissues, which speeds up the process of healing wounds. [26]

Manages Diabetes

According to a report published by the Indian Journal of Medical Research, results show that daily intake of 1000 mg supplementary vitamin C can be beneficial in reducing blood glucose levels in people with type 2  [27]diabetes, reducing their risk of complications.

Prevents Heart Diseases

An adequate amount of ascorbic acid is essential for the protection of blood vessels from the damage that free radicals can cause them. This could be a major cause of a heart disease called atherosclerosis. Vitamin C acts as a preventative agent against this heart disease, as well as various other cardiac problems. [28]

While vitamin C is readily present in several fruits and vegetables, the nutrient is also available as a supplement. If opting for the latter, consider consulting your healthcare provider to understand how to use it to best benefit your health.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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