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Vitamin C

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a famous nutrient that helps us keep in good health. It is essential to get from food or supplements as it protects our cells, helps our immune system, and is important for things like skin, bones, and blood vessels.

What is Vitamin C found in?

Food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruit, kiwis, green vegetables, peppers, broccoli, red cabbage, strawberries, papaya and mango. Herbs and spices which contain Vitamin C are thyme, coriander, parsley, saffron and cloves.

What are the health benefits of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is required for at least 300 metabolic functions within the body.

Antioxidant potential

Primarily, vitamin C is an electron donor, and a potent water-soluble antioxidant[1]. One of its most common roles in health is its role in immune system support, by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. It also supports epithelial barrier function against pathogens and is an effective antioxidant, protecting the body from oxidative stress[2].

Its antioxidant status lends it clinical use for conditions such as sepsis and trauma where oxidative stress has occurred. In these instances, vitamin C is usually administrated intravenously[3].

Cardiovascular health

Vitamin C helps keep the heart healthy in several ways. It reduces the risk of clogged arteries by preventing the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Taking vitamin C supplements can also improve blood lipid levels, reduce artery stiffness, and enhance the function of the cells lining the blood vessels. Interestingly, even normal levels of vitamin C in the blood have been linked to different heart disease risks.[5].

Stress and adrenal function

Another benefit of vitamin C is its support with adrenal production of cortisol. During times of stress, we release cortisol from our adrenals and if this process becomes chronic it can result in feelings of fatigue. Intravenous vitamin C has been shown to fortify the endogenous activities of both cortisol and testosterone – both hormones involved in stress. Therefore, it is a useful supplement to consider for those who are experiencing stress[6].

Healing and the health of skin and connective tissue

Vitamin C supplementation aids in wound healing, it is needed in the inflammatory phase as it is required for neutrophil apoptosis and clearance. It also contributes towards synthesis, maturation, secretion and degradation of collagen[7], which makes it a popular choice for anti-ageing regimes and products. Collagen is also an important protein for healthy joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Supplementing with vitamin C accelerates bone healing and studies have shown it also significantly increases in type I collagen fibers and scar tissue formation and reduce oxidative stress parameters compared with control groups[1].

Iron absorption

Vitamin C is needed for nonheme iron absorption, which is crucial for people on vegetarian or vegan diets. It is a powerful enhancer of absorption here and can reverse the inhibiting effects of calcium and tannins from tea[2]. Pairing nonheme iron foods (such as spinach and other greens) with vitamin C rich foods has a crucial role in good health for diets with restricted heme iron (red meat) sources.

Why is vitamin C supplementation important?

The need for Vitamin C increases with smoking, alcohol, insulin resistance and many medications including the oral contraceptive pill. We also cannot manufacture it in the body so it must come from external sources such as food and supplements.

Signs and symptoms of low vitamin C levels

Common deficiency signs include bleeding gums during brushing, susceptibility to infection, joint pain, lack of energy, poor digestion and easy bruising.


Vitamin C supplementation is generally safe for most people, but high doses can cause digestive issues like diarrhoea or stomach cramps, it can also cause issues to kidney health at very high doses.

Excessive intake of vitamin C may interfere with the absorption of other nutrients, such as copper and selenium, and can also lead to imbalances in the body's antioxidant system.

It is recommended to stick to the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional before taking high-dose vitamin C supplements, especially for people with certain medical conditions or those taking medications that may interact with vitamin C.

Recommended For

Acne Marks/ Scars , Collagen Production , Colds , Scarring , Stress , Pain , Immunity , Flu , Inflammation , Mouth Ulcers , Chest Infection (Respiratory Tract Infection) , Bronchitis , Glandular Fever , Chronic Fatigue , Viral Infection , Cough , Energy , Fatigue/ Exhaustion , Age spots

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