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We have all been there. We feel a little tickle in our throat, stuffy in our nose, or achy around our joints, and we reach for the vitamin C in the hopes of staving off a cold. If a cold does take hold, we down orange juice by the glassful because we learned from our elders that vitamin C gives our immune systems a boost. But did you know the benefits of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, go beyond immunity? Here are some other reasons to add this supplement to your daily regimen even if you’re not feeling sick.
Nowadays, there are stress triggers everywhere, especially with the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and a global pandemic. Meditation, hobbies, and exercise help, but so may vitamin C. A study at the University of Alabama in Huntsville showed that vitamin C decreased the levels of stress hormones, such as corticosterone and cortisol, in the blood of test rats. Stress hormones are what triggers the “fight or flight” response in humans and other animals, which is good if we’re in danger but can leave us in a state of panic when we’re not actually facing an immediate threat. The study also found vitamin C reduced other indications of physical and emotional stress, including weight loss.
Now here’s something you may not know, the body is not good at absorbing non-heme iron, which is the type of iron that’s found in leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens. Vitamin C, however, helps the body absorb non-heme iron. It is recommended to eat these plant foods while also consuming vitamin C-rich foods or taking a supplement of ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C is beneficial to the cells on the outside of the body just as it is to the cells inside the body. Along with playing a role in healing wounds, vitamin C was found to lessen signs of aging, like wrinkles, dryness of the skin, and droopy skin, in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2020. This may be the result of vitamin C being necessary for the body to produce collagen and its antioxidant properties that combat harmful free radicals. Vitamin C is great as an ingredient in topical treatments, but your skin can also benefit from you ingesting it.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C in adults is 75 to 90 milligrams, but it may be necessary to take as much as 500 milligrams daily to see health results, especially if fighting signs of aging is the goal. A daily diet that includes at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, as well as taking a 500 milligram supplement of vitamin C, should be beneficial. Just don’t go over the limit of 2,000 milligrams in a day.
Although vitamin C is championed as an immune booster, it’s time we start using it to manage our stress hormones, strengthen our blood through iron absorption, and fight signs of aging.