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What you didn't know about Vitamin C

on June 15, 2020

Overview

Vitamin C is an essential compound that ensures the proper function of several physiological processes. It cannot be produced by the body. Hence, we have to cover our body's vitamin C need through our diet or supplements.

In our previous article, we covered how acerola, a fruit rich in vitamin C, helps with cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, and the immune system.

In this article, we will focus on other, less-discussed benefits from consuming vitamin C-rich foods or taking dietary supplements.

 

The (less known) Benefits of Vitamin C

  • Essential for skin health

Vitamin C is an essential compound that plays a major role in the production of tissue building blocks (e.g. collagen), which is essential for skin health. 

Normal skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C which not only stimulate collagen synthesis but also help in antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage. However, vitamin C is not a “sunscreen” because it does not absorb light in the UVA or UVB spectrum. Rather, the antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals

Furthermore, signs of ageing in human skin can be mitigated through the provision of vitamin C, although measurement of skin changes is difficult.

 

  • Reduces the risk of macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a common vision problem seen in the elderly, where they experience vision loss in the center of their visual field.

In a classic study published by the Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers found that individuals who took vitamin C supplements (500 mg) on a regular basis had a significant reduction in their risk of developing this condition.

The individuals chosen for this study were at high risk of macular degeneration, but vitamin C seemed to interfere with the pathogenesis of ARMD.

 

  • Controls gout symptoms

Gout is a chronic condition that’s characterized by the accumulation of uric acid inside the joint capsules. As a result, inflammatory cells get recruited into the articulations, causing pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion.

Typically, the big joints such as the knee, elbow, and ankle are affected, but all articulations are susceptible.

Interestingly, the consumption of vitamin C dietary supplements is associated with reduced levels of uric acid in the blood.

 

  • Helps with iron deficiency

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia globally.

As the name implies, this disease is caused by a deficient amount of iron in the blood, which is essential for the production of new red blood cells.

The etiologies of iron deficiency anaemia are diverse and include:

  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption
  • Genetic disease

Conditions that cause malabsorption of iron can all lead to anaemia, including celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and gastric bypass.

What most people don’t know is that vitamin C is primordial for the proper absorption of iron, and a depletion in the former can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

Reversely, taking vitamin C can reduce the symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia, even without iron supplementation!

 

Takeaway message

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that offers a myriad of health benefits to the body. It is crucial for collagen production, tissue elasticity, and disease prevention.

Hopefully, this article helped you understand the less-discussed benefits of vitamin C, but if you still have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

 

Disclaimer 

This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. Please always consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any medical conditions. All content on this page has been thoroughly reviewed. Nevertheless, no liability can be accepted for the completeness and accuracy of the information. 

 

Further Resources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C