Vitamin C, also known as “Ascorbic Acid” is a water-soluble vitamin that helps to boost and maintain a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is naturally sourced from foods or alternately obtained from vitamin supplements.
It is essential for the growth and repair of tissues in the human body. It can strengthen the capillaries or the tiny blood vessels that carry oxygen and other necessary nutrients to all parts of the body via the bloodstream.
Eating foods high in Vitamin C contributes to developing your immune defense – by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Health benefits of Vitamin C
Aside from that Vitamin C can help boost the immune system quickly, it eliminates free radicals from the body. It can help deal with harmful oxygen molecules that could damage your cells. Ascorbic Acid as an antioxidant is believed to maintain cellular health and prevent cancer and a host of other health problems.
Research says Vitamin C sourced naturally from foods may reduce the risk of cartilage loss in those with osteoarthritis.
Although there is no proven evidence yet if Vitamin C can prevent cold, taking 1000 mg of Vitamin C a day, however, may reduce the severity of cold symptoms in some people by about 20 percent.
In addition to these health benefits, Ascorbic Acid plays an important role in promoting the health and beauty of the skin. This Vitamin inhibits the production of melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its dark color. It is also necessary for collagen synthesis, a process that improves skin elasticity and holds back the aging process.
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Other health benefits
It helps to;
- Cure scurvy
- Control high blood pressure
- Lower heart disease risk
- Reduce blood uric acid levels
- Prevent gout attacks
- Treats iron deficiencies
- Prevent brain degeneration
- Strengthen weak immune system caused by stress
- Assist in weight loss
- Heal wounds and cuts faster
- Protect other fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids in the oxidation process
How much vitamin C is needed to boost the immune system?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is 75 milligrams (mg) a day for women and 90 mg a day for men. However, medical practitioners suggest that an intake of 200 mg is accepted since that amount is the highest the human body can absorb at one time.
You can easily get the needed dose of Vitamin C from a diet as long as your food contains adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables. But if you feel your food is deficient in the Vitamin, then you can take a supplement. Increase your consumption by a few percent if you are having cold.
Discuss with your doctor before you use any supplements since the best source of Vitamin C is mainly from foods. Ask your health specialist to recommend supplements for you. Ensure to find out about the side effects and drug interactions.
Many people may take up to 2000 mg of Ascorbic Acid without ill effects while a few can develop diarrhea from as little as 500 milligrams. Also, drink plenty of water because Ascorbic Acid needs to be dissolved in order to be metabolized properly. Sufficient water may also ensure that excess of the Vitamin is eliminated from the body.
Rich food sources of Vitamin C
Natural rich food sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits such as grapefruit, orange, kiwifruit, guava, and lemon. Other fruits high in Vitamin C are strawberries, papaya, and cantaloupe. In addition to the fruits, certain vegetables such as broccoli, green pepper, bell pepper, parsley, cauliflower, tomato Brussel sprouts, mustard greens, and capsicums are equally best sources of Ascorbic Acid for immune boosting.
To get the required Vitamin C for a day, eat foods made with a cup of bell pepper ( 152mg) or have a full cup of pawpaw(88mg) and strawberries( 98mg). You can even have a combination of citrus fruits and vegetables which is thought to be above the recommended 75mg (women) and 90mg (men).
Essential amounts of Ascorbic Acid is necessary to promote overall health and well being. Avoid cooking or storing Vitamin C-rich foods for a long period of time as it may reduce or damage the nutrients. Eat fruits and vegetables raw or cook for 3 minutes or less. there is nothing wrong with going for Vitamin supplementation if what you are getting from food is not sufficient.
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Can I take Ascorbic Acid without eating food?
The answer to the question is ‘ yes’! You can take Vitamin C with or without any food. Just as earlier mentioned, it is water-soluble and can be found in supplement form or in many different fruits or juices and vegetables. Therefore taking it on an empty stomach still keeps you safe.
Vitamin C deficiency diseases
Deficiency of Vitamin C can weaken your immune system – causing unwanted health ailments or diseases in your body. If you think you are not eating enough Ascorbic Acid from your diet, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a supplement to augment. As a matter of fact many people today use Vitamin supplements to make up for lost nutrients or the shortage of Vitamins in their system.
Note: Shortage or deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to scurvy – A condition that can lead to the following:
- Tooth loss
- Weak immune system
- Organ infections
- Muscle deterioration
- Mild anemia
- Joint pain
- Bleeding gums.
Scurvy is not common but can easily happen to alcoholics who don’t eat other calories contained foods.
The main symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include:
- Dry and splitting hair
- Inflammation of the gums – also known as gingivitis
- Rough and dry skin
- Weak immune system
- Slow wound healing
- Swollen and painful joints
Children and Infants
Kids with the Vitamin deficiency may have:
- Pain during movement
- Slow or delayed growth.
- Impaired bone growth
Vitamin C plays an important role in boosting your immune and general body systems. Lack or shortage of ascorbic acid can be dangerous to your body organs.
Even though citrus fruits may be the most common source of ascorbic acid, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (like the ones mentioned here) are rich in this vitamin and may even exceed the amounts found in citrus fruits put together.
Just by eating some of the foods suggested above everyday, your needs should be adequate. A diet rich in the vitamin is an essential step toward good and lasting health.
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