Vitamin C is essential for proper functioning of your body and the prevention and treatment of a number of diseases and conditions, ranging from diabetes to heart disease. The benefits of adequate vitamin C consumption extend to every part of your body, and can even contribute to a healthy mental state.
10 Ways Vitamin C Is Important for Your Body and Mind
Critical for Collagen Production
Collagen is a substance that your body needs to make many of its essential structures, including bones, skin, ligaments, organs, and blood vessels. According to an article in the journal Nutrition Review, vitamin C is one of the three main ingredients required to make collagen. As your body creates the collagen to support its essential structures, it uses up vitamin C. This means you require a constant supply of this vitamin just to maintain your body. Eventually, if you don't have enough vitamin C to produce collagen, you can develop the disease scurvy, common on sailing vessels in the 1700s.
Essential for Protecting Cells
According to Oregon State University, vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant in the body. This means it protects vulnerable cells from damaging pollutants, chemical exposure, and even some of the effects of aging. When the molecules in these cells are under attack by free radicals, vitamin C can come to the rescue. This can reduce your risk for cancer and possibly even slow the aging process.
Important for a Strong Immune System
Although people once thought that taking vitamin C would prevent you from contracting the common cold, the truth is that this important vitamin doesn't offer complete protection. However, according to the National Institute of Health, it does shorten the duration of illnesses and may result in milder symptoms. To get this benefit, you have to be taking vitamin C before you contract the cold virus.
Vital for Quick Wound Healing
According to WebMD, vitamin C is important for wound healing as well. In fact, supplementing with vitamin C and other important nutrients can cause a wound to heal 20% faster than it ordinarily would.
Necessary for Healthy Eyes
According to the Pharmacy Times, vitamin C also helps prevent cataracts. The ocular tissue, or the tissue that makes up your eyes, has a higher concentration of vitamin C than other parts of your body. Long-term supplementation helps it maintain this high concentration and prevents the occurrence of cataracts in older populations.
Important for Cardiovascular Health
Vitamin C also plays an important role in cardiovascular health. According to a study published in the Journal of Scientific Research, people who received a vitamin C supplement saw a measurable decrease in their LDL cholesterol, or "bad" cholesterol. Vitamin C may also prevent plaque from forming on the walls of arteries, preventing heart disease, according to LifeExtension Magazine.
Essential for Diabetes Management
In a study published in the Journal of Advances in Pharmacological Sciences, researchers found that vitamin C played a very important role in the glucose and insulin balance for patients with diabetes. Those who took vitamin C supplements had fewer diabetes-related complications.
Vital for Good Prenatal Health
Because of its antioxidant effects, vitamin C is an important supplement during pregnancy, a time of great oxidative stress on the body. According to a Korean study, mothers who took a vitamin C supplement during pregnancy had babies who showed fewer signs of oxidative stress and were healthier than those who had not received the supplement. Another study, published in the Journal of American of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that vitamin C supplements protected the lungs of babies who were exposed to cigarette smoke in utero.
May Be Important for Cancer Prevention
According to the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin C may also help prevent a number of cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, and many others. While many studies support this idea, there is some debate in the scientific community about whether this is simply a correlation, rather than a cause-and-effect relationship. There is also some question about the methods used for testing. More research is necessary before scientist can say conclusively whether vitamin C plays this role.
Necessary for Good Mental Health
Vitamin C also plays a part in maintaining good mental health, especially when it comes to stress. According to Psychology Today, the vitamin actually reduces the feelings of stress and the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. The article recommends taking a time-released supplement to gain the greatest mental health benefit.
Getting Enough Vitamin C for Your Body
Although consuming foods high in vitamin C can go a long way toward getting enough of this essential nutrient, WebMD recommends that most people take a supplement of 500mg to see the real benefits associated with this vitamin. From quicker wound healing to better mental health, this vitamin is essential for a healthy body and mind.