Vitamin C is essential to repairing and maintaining bones, teeth and cartilage. It’s needed to form collagen – a protein that’s used to make skin, cartilage and blood vessels. Vitamin C is vital for the repair and growth of tissues, and helping to heal wounds.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and can help protect against some of the damage caused by free radicals. The build-up of these by-products over time is largely responsible for the aging process and can contribute to the development of various health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and a host of inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Antioxidants also help reduce the damage to the body caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.
We get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. Some of the highest sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens and sweet potatoes. Other sources of vitamin C include cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, cabbage, mango and pineapples.
Too little vitamin C can lead to signs and symptoms of deficiency, including:
- Dry and splitting hair
- Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
- Bleeding gums
- Rough, dry, scaly skin
- Decreased wound-healing rate
- Easy bruising
- Weakened tooth enamel
- Swollen and painful joints
- Decreased ability to fight infection
- Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
Vitamin C is a staple when it comes to colds, but it provides many more benefits.
Vitamin C plays an essential part in calcium absorption and the utilization of calcium in bone metabolism.
Researchers have also found that supplementing with vitamin C can increase bone mineral density in older women and decrease bone loss in older men. Vitamin C also plays an important role in maintaining healthy bone mass.
Higher vitamin C levels in the blood are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Plus, supplementing with vitamin C is more effective in preventing heart attacks than beta-blockers alone. In a 16-year study, researchers also found that women who supplemented with vitamin C reduced the risk of heart disease by 28%.
Researchers examined the links between the aging of skin and nutrient intake in over four thousand women, and found that higher intakes of vitamin C are associated with a lower rate of wrinkles and dry skin.
Researchers followed a group of over twenty thousand people for a decade and found that people with the highest concentrations of vitamin C had a 42% lower risk of stroke than those with the lowest concentrations.
Vitamin C deficiencies have been linked with metabolic syndrome.
In addition, insulin negotiates the entry of vitamin C into cells, and it turns out that diabetics have insufficient levels of vitamin C in their cellseven when dietary intake exceeds recommended levels. Because of this, some researchers suggest that supplementing with vitamin C might be a requirement for diabetics.
Diabetics that supplemented with 500 mg of vitamin C a day improved arterial stiffness and lowered blood pressure, while those that supplemented with 1000 mg of each day showed a decrease in blood glucose and lipids.
There is a very wide range of vitamin C supplements available. However, there is little scientific evidence that any one form is better absorbed or more effective than another. Most experimental and clinical research uses ascorbic acid or its sodium salt, called sodium ascorbate. Natural and synthetic L-ascorbic acid are chemically identical and there are no known differences in their biological activities or bioavailabilities.
For this reason, a specific vitamin C supplement is impossible to recommend at this time. Do you know of research that claims otherwise? …please share, that is what this WikiVites community is all about.
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