Are you a fan of superheroes? Is Superman your favorite? Or are you more into Captain America? Either way, you are just about to find out about the benefits and health advantages brought to us by the leader of all the superhero vitamins our body needs – Vitamin C.

Before getting acquainted with the leader of the pack, you might want to get to know the other vitamins first before diving into the wonder and benefits of Vitamin C. You can read about the superhero vitamin gang here.

Vitamin c deficiency diagram

What is Vitamin C?

Also commonly known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin present naturally in some food sources and famous as a dietary supplement. Unlike most animals, humans need to add Vitamin C to our diet because our body is not capable of synthesizing such vitamin. Hence, Vitamin C is a very essential component of our dietary needs. If we don’t get it from food sources, then we might need to look into supplementing. To be guided on supplementation, you can read about the basics here.

Are you still wondering why Vitamin C is compared to Superman and Captain America? It is simply because the three of them are superheroes and lead their own superhero gang! If you’re not familiar with them, that’s alright. I just have these words for you that should do the trick – Justice League and Avengers! Before we talk about how Vitamin C is the best vitamin among all vitamins, let’s first discuss how it works with other essential vitamins our body needs.

  1. Vitamin C and Collagen. To get to know Collagen, you can get acquainted with its benefits here. For its biosynthesis, collagen requires the presence of Vitamin C. Collagen is a crucial component of connective tissue that plays a very vital role in wound healing.
  2. Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is also deemed as an essential physiological antioxidant and has been proven to regenerate other antioxidants in our body including Vitamin E. To know more about Vitamin E, read all about it here.
  3. Vitamin C and Iron. Vitamin C also plays an essential role in improving the absorption of non heme iron, the type of iron present in plant-based foods. You can read all about iron here.
Foods high in Vitamin C and THeir Benefits

Sources of Vitamin C

Food sources

Citrus fruits are unarguably the best source of Vitamin C. Other fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, red and green peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and kiwi fruit are also major contributors of the vitamin to our diet. We must take note, however, that these food sources must be consumed raw. The natural Vitamin C content of such food sources is reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Because ascorbic acid is water-soluble, it is therefore destroyed by heat through evaporation. Steaming

or microwaving, on the other hand, may lessen what is lost in cooking.

Here’s a list of foods rich in Vitamin C content with their respective daily value (DV) per serving:

list of vitamin c foods

Dietary Supplements

If you’re very picky, or your diet doesn’t include any of the fruits and vegetables mentioned above, then you might want to consider searching for the best Vitamin C supplement that you can incorporate in your dietary plan.

The Office of Dietary Supplements provided the recommended daily allowances (RDA) of Vitamin C per day that will help us be guided in planning our diet and vitamin intake.

AgeRecommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
0 to 6 monthsMale = 40 mg
Female = 40 mg
7 to 12 monthsMale = 50 mg
Female = 50 mg
1 to 3 yearsMale = 15 mg
Female = 15 mg
4 to 8 yearsMale = 25 mg
Female = 25 mg
9 to 13 yearsMale = 45 mg
Female = 45 mg
14 to 18 yearsMale = 75 mg
Female = 65 mg
19 years & aboveMale = 90 mg
Female = 75 mg

In searching for the best Vitamin C supplement, you have to keep in mind the importance of Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (TUIL) for Vitamin C. These upper intake levels are also applicable to food sources but not to individuals continuously receiving Vitamin C for medical treatment.

AgeTolerable Upper Intake Levels (TUIL)
0 to 12 monthsMale & Female = not possible to establish
1 to 3 yearsMale & Female = 400 mg
4 to 8 yearsMale & Female = 650 mg
9 to 13 yearsMale & Female = 1200 mg
14 to 18 yearsMale & Female (pregnant, lactating) = 1800 mg
19 years & aboveMale & Female (pregnant, lactating) = 2000 mg

Taking more than the tolerable intake level might cause side effects such as headache (most common), nausea, stomach cramps, heartburn diarrhea. Higher doses of Vitamin C may cause kidney stones and for people who already have them, taking more than 1000 mg of Vitamin C daily surely increases the risk of having more kidney stones.

vitamin c Foods

Benefits of Vitamin C

Whether you are already enjoying a diet rich in Vitamin C or using the best Vitamin C supplement, you can rest assured that its continued use will bring you these health benefits.

Vitamin C may reduce risk of chronic disease. As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C has the power to strengthen our body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants are responsible for boosting our immune system by protecting cells from free radicals. When these harmful molecules accumulate, they can lead to many chronic diseases. Studies have shown that Vitamin C consumption (best vitamin C supplements) can increase our blood’s antioxidant levels by up to 30%, helping our body’s natural defenses against inflammation.

Vitamin C may help manage high blood pressure. If you are already taking the best Vitamin C supplement to combat your high blood pressure, you will be happy to know that an analysis conducted including 29 human studies have found that taking Vitamin C supplement reduced systolic (upper value) blood pressure by 3.8 mmHg and diastolic (lower value) blood pressure by 1.5 mmHg on average in healthy adults.

Vitamin C may lower risk of heart disease. Taking the best Vitamin C supplement daily reduces the risk of heart disease by 25%. An analysis of 9 different studies that include a combined 293,172 participants have found that those that took at least 700 mg of Vitamin C daily had lowered their risk of heart disease by 25% after 10 years’ time compared to those that did not.

Vitamin C helps prevent iron deficiency. Iron is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. The best Vitamin C supplement helps improve iron absorption from our diet. It assists in the conversion of poorly absorbed iron into a form that can be absorbed easily. In fact, the consumption of 100 mg of Vitamin C may already improve iron absorption by 67%. In a study involving 65 children with mild iron deficiency, researchers found that Vitamin C supplement alone have helped control their condition.

Vitamin C boosts immunity. With the current threat posed by the ever-evolving and unstoppable coronavirus, today is probably the best time to get our hands on that best Vitamin C supplement for the following reasons: First, Vitamin C strengthens the production of white blood cells responsible for our body’s protection against infection; Second, Vitamin C protects these white blood cells from being damaged by free radicals; Third, Vitamin C is an essential part of our skin’s defense system, strengthening our skin’s barriers.

The benefits do not end here. There are multiple little benefits Vitamin C has in store for us. A little googling might help but these 5 major and impressive benefits should be enough to convince you in getting that best Vitamin C supplement!

Bodybuilder diet consuming vitamin c foods

Effects on Bodybuilding

For fitness enthusiasts, the good news is having sufficient Vitamin C levels enables individuals to burn more fat during exercise compared to those with depleted Vitamin C levels. Furthermore, increased Vitamin C levels may also shorten post-workout recovery time. Higher levels of Vitamin C can also suppress our body’s release of cortisone – a hormone released by our body when under stress. Cortisone throws our body into a catabolic state – a condition when our body begins to use muscle for fuel. Vitamin C prevents this from happening.

What’s next?

We only have three things to do moving forward: First, we can incorporate food sources that are rich in Vitamin C to our diet; Second, we can start shopping for the best Vitamin C supplement online and take it daily and religiously, or; Third, choose to ignore the wonders of Vitamin that we just discovered about Vitamin C and continue to take our health for granted.

Our future is always up to us so choose wisely!

References:

7 Impressive Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements (healthline.com)

Vitamin C – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)

VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID): Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews (webmd.com)

Vitamin C: Why we need it, sources, and how much is too much (medicalnewstoday.com)