The benefits of Vitamin C.. are you getting enough?
Vitamin C is vital for many processes within the body. One of it’ s most important benefits is that it is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help to protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules in our bodies which are constantly being formed either by natural processes within our body as well as due to outside lifestyle factors like stress and toxins from our environment like cigarette smoke and pollution. Free radicals can cause damage in the body as well as an increased risk for disease.
If we have low Vitamin C levels long term, it could potentially increase our risk of developing diseases such as cancer as well as speeding up the ageing process due to the damage caused by free radicals. Increased intake of Vitamin C rich foods has been shown to be proactive against many different types of cancer.
Vitamin C can also help to protect our LDL cholesterol and other blood lipids or fats from oxidative damage. It helps to lower our cholesterol levels as well as lowering blood pressure and dilating our blood vessels which may help to prevent atherosclerosis and damage to our blood vessels. If Vitamin C levels in the body are low there is an increased risk for developing circulatory disorders and atherosclerosis.
Vitamin C is also needed for collagen formation. Collagen provides structural strength and support to many tissues in our body, helping to maintaining healthy blood vessels, heart valves, teeth, gums and cartilage in our joints. As well as being important in the healing of wounds. Bleeding gums particularly when brushing the teeth, gum infections, nose bleeds and bruising more easily are common in Vitamin C deficiency. It may also cause joints to become stiff or painful and wounds may take longer to heal.
Vitamin C is important for our immunity, it helps to increase the activity of our immune cells which are important in helping us to fight infections. A lack of Vitamin C can therefore cause lowered immunity and increased susceptibility to viruses like colds or flu and other infections. Vitamin C can be used at therapeutic doses to treat infections such as colds and gum infections.
Vitamin C also helps to control inflammation within the body by reducing histamine which is produced in our body during inflammatory processes.
Some hormones require Vitamin C in order to be activated, hormones help to regulate many different processes within our body. It is also involved with regulation of some neurotransmitters for example serotonin which effects our sleep regulation, pain perception and blood pressure. Lack of Vitamin C can lead to depression, irritability and less ability to cope with stress.
Vitamin C also helps us to absorb iron by converting it to a form that is absorbed better in our digestive tract. Vitamin C deficiency could lead to iron deficiency anaemia the symptoms of which include shortness of breath and fatigue.