Taking vitamin C is one of the safest supplements that you can take. But there can be side effects if you take more than you need!
Also, children have a different intake requirement from adults!
So if you’re not sure if you need vitamin C, or you just want to know more about this popular vitamin, keep reading!
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, is a well-known water soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. This makes it popular in anti-aging creams and Vitamin C serums.
Your body cannot make its own vitamin C.
But you can get your daily dose of vitamin C from many vegetables and fruit. Citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes, and blackcurrants are packed with vitamin C! Everything from your skin and bones needs vitamin C for regenerative purposes (*1).
Since vitamin C cannot be synthesized or stored in large amounts in the body:
You will need a daily intake of vitamin C for general good health and well-being (*2).
Common forms of vitamin C for supplements:
- Sodium ascorbate
- Ascorbic acid together with bioflavonoids
- Calcium ascorbate
Note: From several studies, researchers concluded that the simple form ascorbic acid is the best source for vitamin C supplementation. In terms of absorption and bioavailability.
Benefits Of Vitamin C
Unlike other multivitamins, there’s no risk in taking too much vitamin C (i.e. ascorbic acid poisoning). As the body can easily flush it out the excess through your urine.
In that case, it’s only a waste of your money!
Some of the many vitamin C benefits:
- Improves immune health (as do the best probiotics in Malaysia)
- For brain and heart health
- May encourage fat burn during exercise
- Calcium absorption for bones
- Helps to reduce blood pressure (and risk of heart disease)
- Iron absorption
- Collagen production
- Can protect you from gout (i.e. lower uric acid in blood)
Experts have labelled vitamin C as one of the safest and most effective nutrients.
But what makes vitamin C so great?
Some of the benefits of vitamin C include:
1. Improving Immune Health
The most famous perception of vitamin C is that it is extremely beneficial for colds and flus.
That’s only partially true:
Vitamin C cannot cure a cold. But studies have shown that it can prevent worsening of symptoms. Or development of serious complications, including pneumonia and lung infection (*3).
2. May Improve Heart Health
Other studies suggest that vitamin C can decrease risk of heart disease and heart attacks. However, there are limitations (i.e. unreliable consistency) among such studies. So this benefit is yet to be confirmed (*4).
3. May Improve Brain Health
On another note, vitamin C is an important component of brain function. And there are high levels of vitamin C in our nerve cells! Sufficient vitamin C will also limit oxidative damage to the brain (*5).
Other than ensuring proper functioning of messengers in the brain:
There is concern that there may be a link between vitamin C deficiency and mental health too (*6).
4. Supporting Your Bones And Cartilage
Collagen is an important component of your bones. And vitamin C is vital in collagen formation.
In fact, studies suggest that increased vitamin C can lead to greater bone density (*7).
Besides that, vitamin C also prevents cartilage breakdown by stimulating collagen formation (*8).
5. Anti-aging And Skin Benefits
Vitamin C serums are said to brighten and hydrate your skin. It can also reduce undereye circles, hyperpigmentation, and redness of skin (*9).
Always perform an allergy patch test before using vitamin C serum on your skin.
6. May Help With Gout
Some studies have suggested that vitamin C can reduce uric acid. This help with preventing gout flare-ups. However, more research is required to confirm these claims (*10).
7. Preserving Teeth And Gum Health
Vitamin C is shown to promote healthy gums and teeth (*11).
It strengthens your gums and prevents gum disease. Including severe gum infections like periodontitis (an irreversible condition that can lead to teeth loss).
What Is Vitamin C Deficiency?
Vitamin C deficiency happens when you don’t get enough vitamin C. This will affect your health in the long run.
Serious prolonged cases can even lead to a condition called scurvy. Scurvy is fatal disease but rare in developed countries.
Some symptoms of scurvy include (*12):
- Fatigue and weakness
- Easy bruising
- Pain in muscle and joints
- Dry skin
- Nose bleeds
- Slow wound healing
- Tooth loss and weight loss
- Poor immunity
Who Is At Risk Of Vitamin C Deficiency?
Vitamin C deficiency is relatively rare, but roughly 1 in 20 people are somewhat affected by it (*13).
- Those who do not eat a healthy balanced diet or are on restrictive diets
- Smokers and second-hand smokers
- Those with medical conditions that affects absorption of nutrients (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
- People who consume a lot of alcohol
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Anyone with eating disorders, IBD, etc
Although you may not be in this high-risk group:
Proper supplementation of vitamin C can support general health and well-being.
Are There Health Risks Of Taking More Vitamin C Than You Need?
An overdose can cause the following:
Signs of nausea, including headaches, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. And risk of developing kidney stones.
If you are pregnant or breast feeding, have certain medical conditions, or taking medication (including herbal products, vitamins and supplements):
Always consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking vitamin C products.
As certain products may not be safe for you. And may interact with your current medications.
If you experience allergic reactions after taking a product (Such as hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face and lips):
Stop taking the product and seek medical attention immediately.
Some of these products contain aspartame. Which many people have concerns about. Unfortunately, this topic is extremely controversial and research has yet to confirm anything. To be safe, take less than 40mg/kg/day (*18).
Feel more confident in picking out the best vitamin C supplement for your family and you!
Now that you know more about the benefits and risks that come with taking vitamin C as a supplement!