Vitamin C has surprising health benefits that you may not have known about. Plus, does it have any effect at all on COVID? Vitamins in general help your body grow and work the way it should.
Vitamin C specifically, is one of the essential vitamins required for our bodies to survive and stay healthy. But did you know there are five scientifically proven benefits of taking supplements that you may not even known about?
And COVID. Does taking vitamin C have any effect at all on helping your body combat the coronavirus? We’re going to go over all of that.
What Is It?
It’s an essential dietary component, that helps many different functions in our body: biosynthesis of collagen, wound healing, regenerating antioxidants, the list is a long one. In other words, it’s essential and your body needs it to stay healthy and function properly.
It’s very important to get an adequate amount of vitamin C daily to ensure overall wellbeing and health. But did you know taking an adequate amount of vitamin C could improve your long-term memory as well as reduce your risk for certain chronic diseases.
It has many roles and has been linked to five impressive health benefits you should definitely know about.
Vitamin C and Cancer Therapy.
It may help in treating cancer. As an antioxidant, it protects the body against oxidative stress and helps prevent the oxidation of other molecules. It appears to regenerate other antioxidants in your body as well.
It can strengthen your body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants protect your body’s cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. When free radicals accumulate, they can promote something called oxidative stress. Researchers have proposed using vitamin C in cancer patients whose treatment options are limited.
More studies are needed to understand which cancers could be affected by it and which other effective treatments can be used in conjunction with it, as well as the long-term effects of this approach.
It May Help Manage Blood Pressure.
Did you know that approximately one-third of adults have high blood pressure? Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in both those with and without high blood pressure. It helps relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helps reduce blood pressure levels.
Studies have shown that in adults with high blood pressure, vitamin C supplements reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.9 and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 on average. While these results are promising, it’s not clear whether the effects on blood pressure are long term. So it’s probably best that people with high blood pressure don’t rely on vitamin C alone for treatment.
It May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. Up to one in every four deaths is the result of heart disease. Many factors increase the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, cholesterol levels being elevated, and smoking. It may help reduce these risk factors, which may reduce heart disease risk.
An analysis of nine studies with a combined 290,000 participants found that after 10 years, people who took at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not take a supplement. Interestingly, another analysis of 15 studies found that consuming vitamin C from food (not supplements) was linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Scientists were unsure whether people who consumed food rich in this vitamin also followed a healthier lifestyle than people who took a supplement.
It remains unclear whether the differences were due to vitamin C or other aspects of their diet. With that to said, if you already consume a vitamin C rich diet, then supplements may not provide additional heart-healthy benefits.
It May Boost Your Immune System.
First, it helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection. White blood cells flow through your bloodstream to fight viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that threaten your health. For example, people suffering from pneumonia tend to have lower levels of vitamin C.
When a patient has been given the vitamin, they have been shown to experience a shortened recovery time.
Vitamin C Protects Your Memory and Thinking as You Age.
Dementia is a broad term used to describe symptoms of poor thinking and memory. It affects over 35 million people worldwide and typically occurs among older adults.
Studies suggest that oxidative stress and inflammation near the brain, spine, and nerves can increase the risk of dementia. Research has shown that those who suffer from dementia have been linked to having low levels of vitamins and lower blood levels.
It may promote a healthier blood flow, therefore, high vitamin C levels from food or supplements may have a positive effect on thinking and memory as you age.
Alright, we went over five known medical benefits, but let’s talk about COVID-19 and vitamin C for a second.
Does Vitamin C Help Combat the Coronavirus?
Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties, influences cellular immunity and vascular integrity, and serves as a cofactor in the generation of endogenous catecholamines, meaning adrenaline and dopamine.
Because humans may require more of it in states of oxidative stress, vitamin C supplementation has been evaluated in numerous disease states, including serious infections and sepsis.
A serious COVID-19 case may cause sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The potential role of high doses of vitamin C in decreasing inflammation and vascular injury in patients with COVID-19 is being studied.
Some other big questions.
Where can you get it? And how much should you take? Vitamin C is water-soluble vitamin that can be easily dissolved in water making it readily available to our body.
It is found in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach, and more.
While it’s commonly advised to get your daily intake from food, many people turn to supplements to meet their needs.
So how much should you take? The recommended daily amount is 90 mg but there is a broad range. Some people have been known to take up to a couple thousand milligrams without any major side effects.
The exact dose for each person may be different and should be discussed with your doctor. The bottom line, there is no one magic pill or vitamin that cures all. It’s important to not forget the overall big picture. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins is the best strategy for good health.
If you are concerned about your vitamin C intake or any health consequences related to vitamin supplementation, talk to your doctor.