Vitamin C: Benefits, Side Effects, Risk Factors, Dosage

Vitamin C

A water-soluble vitamin found in a variety of food, particularly in vegetables and fruits is known as Vitamin C. It’s said to have a lot of positive effects on immune function and skin health and is well known for being a potent antioxidant. Additionally, it is important for collagen synthesis, bones, connective tissue, teeth, and small blood vessels in your body. 

Awareness around this essential vitamin has gone up significantly in the last few months. People have started taking vitamin C supplements as the daily value of 90 mg is not always met through the food one eats. 

The Health Benefits of Vitamin C 

The Vitamin C benefits are so many in number that we could write a whole book about it. however, we have listed down a few essential ones for your reference:

  • May reduce your risk of chronic disease – vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen the body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants are essentially molecules which help to boost the immune system. They do this by protecting the cells from some harmful molecules known as free radicals. It is said that when these free radicals accumulate, they have the power to promote a state called oxidative stress which has been often linked to a number of chronic diseases. Start considering options of how to get vitamin C in your system so that your blood antioxidants levels can go up. 
  • May help manage high blood pressure among the very many benefits of vitamin C, another important one to know about is this. Having high blood pressure is known to put an individual at risk of heart disease. Research has shown that vitamin C may have the ability to help lower blood pressure in individuals with and without high blood pressure. Taking vitamin C supplements is said to reduce systolic blood pressure which is the upper value by about 3.8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure which is the lower value by about 2.5 mmHg in an average healthy adult. In adults with high blood pressure these numbers were researched to be 4.9 mmHg and 1.7 mmHg for the upper value and the lower value respectively. Although these results are very promising, the long-term benefits are still not known and Vitamin C treatment alone can’t be relied upon only. 
  • May lower your risk of heart disease this disease is said to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide. There are a lot of risk factors for heart diseases such as high blood pressure, low levels of HDL or good cholesterol and high triglyceride, or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. There have been a lot of research that has been conducted about this where individuals who have been taking a particular amount of vitamin C daily were said to be at a 25% lower risk of heart disease than individuals who did not take Vitamin C supplements or any other form of vitamin C. There is another study which has also said that individuals who consumed vitamin C rich foods and not necessarily supplements were also linked to a lower risk of having a heart disease. However, there is also a lot of debate around this as scientists do not know whether the ones who consumed food that was rich in this particular vitamin also followed a healthy lifestyle or not as opposed to the ones who only relied on supplements as their source of this essential vitamin. Due to this, it is still unclear whether the lowering of the risk of heart disease was only due to the food that they ate or other healthy lifestyle factors that also contributed to this. However, in all due respect and despite all the various debates, this vital vitamin in some ways does contribute to the lowering of this. 
  • May reduce blood uric acid levels and help prevent gout attacks – gout is a certain type of arthritis that is said to be incredibly painful and involves the inflammation of joints especially in individuals who have a big toe. Individuals who have been affected by this tend to experience sudden severe attacks of pain and a lot of swelling as well. The symptoms of this particular condition are said to appear when the blood has a high level of uric acid in it. Uric acid is said to be a waste product that is produced by the body. When the levels of uric acid in the body are high then it may start to crystalize and get deposited in the joints. There have been a lot of studies which has shown that vitamin C is linked to helping in the reduction of uric acid levels in the blood and as a result that ultimately protects individuals from being attacked by gout. There has been researching conducted with a set of individuals who have consumed vitamin C supplements and upon testing them it was found that their uric acid levels were lower than in the individuals who consumed less or did not take sufficient amounts of this essential vitamin. There have been other such studies also conducted which has shown that regular vitamin c uses have caused the uric acid levels to go down. Having said that, there is still a lot more research that is needed in this area.
  • Helps prevent iron deficiency – iron is an essential nutrient that plays a variety of functions in the body. It is more vital for transporting oxygen throughout the body and for helping in the production of red blood cells. Consuming vitamin C supplements is said to help improve the absorption of iron from an individual’s diet. It does this by assisting in the conversion of iron from a form that is hard to absorb to a more plant-based source of iron which is easier for the body to absorb. This is said to be especially helpful for people who do not consume meat as a part of their diet as mean is known to be a major source of iron for the body.  Vitamin C benefits for men, in this case, are higher as their body structure increases the requirement of essential vitamins and nutrients and hence, they need more assistance. 
  • Boosts immunity – another major benefit of how vitamin C helps the body lies in the fact that it is said to boost immunity levels in an individual. It is said to help in the production of white blood cells which are known as lymphocytes and phagocytes which also help in protecting the body against any type of infection.  One of the major reasons for people to turn to these supplements is for this major benefit of vitamin C tablets that the body gets. In addition to helping with their production, it also helps in making these white blood cells function in a more effective manner while at the same time protecting them from the damage which is caused by harmful molecules also known as free radicals. Lastly, this vitamin is an important part of the defense system of the skin and thus helps in protecting the barrier of the skin. 
  • Protects your memory and thinking as you age – one of the broad terms used to describe the symptoms of memory loss and poor thinking is known as dementia. It is said to affect a large number of people worldwide especially as they grow old.  Research has shown that oxidative stress and experiencing inflammation near the spine, brain, and nerves can contribute to increasing the risk of this condition significantly. As already mentioned above, vitamin C is said to be a strong antioxidant and lower levels of this essential vitamin in the body is said to have a link with an impaired ability to remember and think. Out of the plethora of vitamin C tablets benefits, this is one important one that can affect any individual and at any time. Hence it is becoming important to have a shield against such conditions of memory and thinking as an individual grows old. 

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Unproven claims about vitamin C

As discussed above, vitamin C has scientifically proven to have many health benefits. However, in addition to that, there are also a lot of unproven and unfounded claims about this which very little to no evidence at all. 

For your reference and understanding, we have listed down some of these unproven claims because we are sure you must have come across at least one of these in recent times. 

  • Reduces risk of cancer – some studies say it lowers the risk of cancer while some are still unsure about this whole claim 
  • Helps in preventing the common cold – it is said to reduce the severity of a cold but cannot really prevent them from happening at all. 
  • May help in treating lead toxicity – there is still no strong evidence to really support this 
  • Helps in protection against eye diseases – said to reduce risk of cataracts 

Having said that vitamin C supplements continue to be popular right now with the increase in awareness about the importance of having a strong immunity system.  

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Does Too Much Vitamin C Cause Side Effects?

Too much of anything is not good, is something that we have grown up hearing. The same applies in the case of this as well. With everything, there are side effects too and similarly, it is the case with this as well.

  • Vitamin C is water-soluble and not stored in your body – any water-soluble vitamin is one that dissolves in water. Same is the case with vitamin C. This essentially means that it does not get stored in your body and passes out through your urine after all essential amount has been absorbed by your tissues via fluids. This makes it important to consume foods that are rich in Vitamin C on a daily basis as the body does not store it. if you feel you are getting the daily recommended quantity through your food then taking supplements is not really necessary. 
  • Too much vitamin C may cause digestive symptoms – digestive distress is said to be one of the most common side effects of vitamin C. This happens not when someone gets this vitamin from their food but instead rely on vitamin c supplements for their body. however, this only happens when you take more than 2,000 mg of it, which is the upper limit, all at once. The most common digestive symptoms that individuals face is the feeling of nausea and diarrhea. It is also said to lead to acid reflux but there is no evidence for this up till now. 
  • Vitamin C may cause an iron overload – as we know vitamin C is said to enhance the absorption of iron. It is said to bind with non-heme iron which is essentially found in plant-based foods. This type of iron is not absorbed by the body as effectively as it would absorb heme iron which is the type of iron that is found in animals. Individuals who have a condition such as a hemochromatosis that increases the risk of iron accumulation in the body should maintain caution while taking vitamin C supplements. Under such circumstances, taking this vitamin may lead to an increase in iron overload which can then further lead to some serious damage to your pancreas, heart, kidney, liver, thyroid, and the central nervous system. One must also know that iron overload is not possible if they do not have a pre-existing condition as mentioned before that then causes this to happen.
  • Taking supplements in high doses may lead to kidney stones – whenever there is excess vitamin C in the body, it’s excreted from the body in the form of oxalate which is a bodily waste product. This oxalate exits the body through the urine. However, in some cases, this oxalate may form crystals by binding to minerals which in turn can lead to the formation of kidney stones in the body. When an individual consumes excess amounts of vitamin C supplements, they have the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in the urine which increases the risk of kidney stones.

How much vitamin C is too much?

If you have been asking yourself after reading all of this that can I eat vitamin C capsules daily then we are here to let you know that yes you can. You should know that it is nearly impossible for an individual to get the recommended vitamin C dosage just by food alone.  To give you a better understanding of this, you would have to consume 13 bell peppers or 29 oranges before your daily intake can reach the upper limit of the body. The nature of this vitamin is that an excess is ultimately excreted by the body which means that there is never any excess in your body. Having said that, when individuals take vitamin C supplements then it is possible to consume too much of it under some circumstances. It is recommended to check with your doctor about your body.

Vitamin C supplement for skin

Vitamin C for Skin

The current buzzword in the beauty industry that all brands are cashing upon is vitamin C for the skin and all the benefits that it provides. It is available in the form of serums, creams, lotions, oils, and toners. Apart from that, there are dedicated vitamin c tablets for the skin as well. 

Some of the benefits for vitamin C tablets for skin include:

  • it is a great anti-aging ingredient and is said to fend off signs of aging 
  • it boosts the production of collagen in the skin and keeps it healthy 
  • it helps in repairing damaged and pigmented skin 
  • it is said to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on the skin 
  • it can also prevent and repair dry skin 
  • it reduces redness on the skin that happens due to acne 

Read More: BENEFITS OF VITAMINS FOR BLACK AND SHINY HAIR

These are some of the benefits that it provides to the skin.

It is safe to say that Vitamin C is an ingredient that is essential in our daily life, both for the external as well as the internal body. With the increase in the popularity of this miracle ingredient, a lot of brands are jumping on the bandwagon and coming out with their own vitamin C tablets. It can often lead to information overload where an individual is not sure about who to turn to exactly and which brand to trust. At such a time, it is important to turn to brands that are transparent in their offerings and only use the highest quality ingredients and process for their final product. 

One such brand in the market is Purayati which was started with the vision to fulfill the gap in the market that exists when it comes to quality products and the prices that the consumer has to pay for it. It was started with the vision of a healthier India. Their policy involves curating the most mindful quality products and charging only honest prices.

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