Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required by the human body. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, it is a water-soluble vitamin that occurs naturally in several food items. But unlike animals, human beings cannot synthesize this vitamin endogenously. Thus, it forms an integral part of our everyday diet.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to eliminate free radicals from the body. It also supports the immune system and promotes wound healing. In this article, we will understand everything about the potent vitamin, including its benefits for the body and the recommended daily allowance (RDA). So, let’s begin.
Most Noteworthy Benefits of Vitamin C
The notable vitamin increases the production of white blood cells in the body that fight against infection. Besides, it also helps the white blood cells to function more efficiently by protecting them from damage caused by free radicals. Lastly, it forms a vital part of the skin’s defense system and helps to reinforce the skin’s barriers.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that works to strengthen the body’s natural defense systems. It helps eliminate free radicals in the body that otherwise accumulate and promote oxidative stress. And this oxidative stress increases the risk of chronic diseases.
This is an important benefit of vitamin C. It may help to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels while boosting the HDL cholesterol in the body. This helps to reduce the risk of heart problems.
Iron is another crucial nutrient that is used for making red blood cells in the body. These blood cells help to carry oxygen to various body parts. Vitamin C aids to improve the absorption of iron from the diet, thus reducing the chances of iron deficiency anemia.
As one ages, he/she may suffer from poor memory and thinking. And this may often lead to dementia. According to research, inflammation and oxidative stress near the spine, brain, and nerves can increase the risk of dementia. And low levels of vitamin C can further increase the risk and cause impaired thinking ability.
Vitamin C Deficiency
Vitamin C deficiency is not very common, especially in developed countries. It occurs in case a person consumes less than 10 mg of the vitamin each day. That said, it is important to understand that the body does not produce or retain this nutrient. So any person who is not consuming the required amount every day may suffer from a deficiency.
The most common symptoms of this deficiency are as follows:
- Scurvy, which occurs due to loss of collagen in the body
- Skin spots caused by bruising and bleeding blood vessels
- Hair loss
- Slow wound healing
- Swelled or bleeding gums
- Unexplained fatigue
- Iron deficiency anemia
Moving on, people are at the greatest risk of vitamin C deficiency include:
- Smokers and passive smokers
- Infants who consume only boiled or evaporated milk
- People who do not consume too many fruits and vegetables
- Those suffering from some kind of intestinal malabsorption
Recommended Daily Allowance
- The RDA for adults who are 19 years and older is 90 mg every day for men and 75 mg for women.
- For pregnant and lactating women, the amount increases to 85 mg and 120 mg daily, respectively.
- Those who smoke regularly must consume an additional 35 mg of the vitamin every day to prevent deficiency.
Facts about Vitamin C
- The nutrient only stays in the body for 24 hours. It is water-soluble which makes it impossible to load up on the vitamin. In case you consume too much, it will excrete through urine.
- Some medical professionals believe that taking adequate vitamin C at the beginning of the flu season may benefit health. It may prevent the common cold or at least reduce the length and severity of it.
- The vitamin may help to reduce the visible signs of aging as it promotes collagen regeneration.
- The maximum amount of this vitamin a person should take is 2000 mg. But that number is quite high and an average adult should only consume between 65 – 90mg every day.
- Too much of this nutrient may sometimes cause undesirable effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and heartburn.