When the flu strikes, consumption of vitamin C supplements is often the first choice to increase endurance . Vitamin C can indeed be relied on to prevent disease, but did you know that the benefits of this vitamin are actually much more diverse?
Here are various things you need to know about vitamin C and its benefits.
Benefits of vitamin C for health
The formation of tissues and the body’s defense system requires the intake of various kinds of vitamins and minerals. One of the important vitamins that support bodily functions is vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid.
Ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin like the B complex vitamins. The body is unable to produce and store vitamin C on its own. Therefore, you need to meet the needs of vitamin C from your daily diet.
Adequate intake of vitamin C can protect the body from disease. However, this is not the only benefit of vitamin C. A nutrient that is identical to this fruit is also beneficial for skin tissue, blood circulation, and even nerves in the brain.
Here are the various goodness that you can get from vitamin C.
1. Increase endurance
Vitamin C helps boost immunity by encouraging the production of white blood cells called lymphocytes and phagocytes. As an antioxidant , this vitamin also protects immune cells from damage caused by free radicals.
In addition, vitamin C helps strengthen the skin’s defenses. The skin does not only protect the body from the air and the environment. This largest organ in the human body also repels bacteria, fungi, and similar microbes that can cause disease.
2. Keeps skin healthy and firm
Vitamin C can be found in the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin. This is not without reason, because vitamin C has benefits in maintaining healthy skin . These nutrients promote collagen production and protect skin cells from damage.
Collagen is the main protein that makes up the structure of your skin. Its production can decrease due to aging and free radicals from the environment. Vitamin C is what will help keep collagen production stable so that the skin is always healthy.
3. Prevent iron deficiency anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is anemia that occurs when red blood cells don’t have enough iron. In fact, red blood cells need iron to bind oxygen and circulate it throughout the body.
You can prevent this condition by meeting the needs of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid works by increasing the absorption of iron, especially from plant sources, whose iron is more difficult for the body to absorb.
4. Helps control blood pressure
If you have hypertension, try adding foods rich in vitamin C to your daily diet. The reason is, various studies have shown that vitamin C intake can help lower blood pressure, even in hypertensive patients.
According to a 2012 study , taking vitamin C supplements can reduce systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg and diastolic by 1.7 mmHg. So that the benefits are more optimal, don’t forget to balance it by reducing your salt intake.
5. Lowering cholesterol
Vitamin C also has benefits for people with high cholesterol. Several previous studies have found that consuming 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day can lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
LDL ( low-density lipoprotein ) and triglycerides are ‘bad’ cholesterol that can trigger plaque formation in blood vessels. Vitamin C helps prevent this by keeping both cholesterol levels in check.
6. Helps prevent gout
Gout is caused by high uric acid levels in the blood. Uric acid then forms crystals in joints, causing pain and swelling. Interestingly, ascorbic acid has the potential to prevent this disease.
According to a research report, taking vitamin C supplements for 30 days can reduce blood uric acid levels drastically. In fact, people who regularly take vitamin C supplements have a 44% lower risk of developing gout.
7. Reducing the risk of chronic disease
Vitamin C has benefits as a natural antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that protect various body cells from the effects of free radicals. Without antioxidant protection, the body’s cells are more susceptible to damage or harmful mutations.
Cell damage or mutation can cause a number of diseases, ranging from heart disease, hardening of the arteries to cancer. Vitamin C intake does not directly prevent the disease, but has the potential to reduce the risk.
8. Accelerate wound healing
Ascorbic acid indirectly plays a role in wound healing. The wound healing process requires a lot of protein, one of which is collagen. If collagen production decreases, the wound will take longer to heal than it should.
Vitamin C stimulates the production, maturation and release of collagen in injured tissue. This helps accelerate the formation of new tissue that will close the wound. That way, the wound will heal faster.
9. Reducing the risk of eye disease
Vitamin C intake is believed to have benefits for eye health. One study in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews , for example, revealed that ascorbic acid has the potential to slow down the process of cataracts.
Another study in the same journal also states that intake of vitamin C and minerals helps prevent macular degeneration . This disease occurs when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged.
Known as a vitamin for the immune system, vitamin C actually has a number of benefits that may not be widely known. To get these properties, you only need to add a source of vitamin C to your daily menu.