This amazing vitamin boosts health in many ways. Unlike other vitamins, C cannot be manufactured or stored in the body; thus the need for ongoing supply of it.
Vitamin C supports growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is an antioxidant, as is Vitamin E. Antioxidants help block some of the damage caused by free radicals - substances that damage DNA. The build up of free radicals over time may contribute to the aging process and the development of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
Benefits/uses of vitamin C:
- It helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
- Vitamin C is needed for healing wounds as well as repairing and maintaining bones and teeth.
- It helps the body absorb iron.
- Smoking cigarettes lowers the amount of vitamin C in the body, so smokers are at a higher risk of deficiency.
- Low levels of vitamin C have been associated with a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke, some cancers, and atherosclerosis - the build up of plaque in blood vessels which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
- Taking vitamin C supplements regularly can potentially reduce the duration or strength of a cold.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can lower your levels of vitamin C. If you take these drugs regularly for osteoarthritis, a vitamin C supplement could be beneficial.
- Vitamin C appears to work with other antioxidants, including zinc, beta-carotene, and vitamin E to protect the eyes against developing macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of legal blindness in people over 55 in the United States.
Although the information is limited, studies suggest that vitamin C may also be helpful for:
- Boosting immunity
- Maintaining healthy gums
- Improving vision for those with uveitis (an inflammation of the middle part of the eye)
- Treating allergy-related conditions, such as asthma, eczema, and hay fever (called allergic rhinitis)
- Reducing effects of sun exposure, such as sunburn or redness (called erythema)
- Alleviating dry mouth, particularly from antidepressant medications (a common side effect from these drugs)
- Healing burns and wounds
- Decreasing blood sugar in people with diabetes
- Some viral conditions, including mononucleosis -- Although scientific evidence is lacking, some doctors may suggest high-dose vitamin C to treat some viruses