Why Mom Was Right About the Benefits of Vitamin C
Remember when your mom would tell you to eat an orange if you were feeling a bit under the weather? Or how about the times when she would hand you a packet of Emergen-C? If you do, it sounds like your mom knew all about the amazing benefits of Vitamin C.
Found in a lot of your favorite foods and skincare products, Vitamin C doesn’t mess around when it comes to antioxidants and enzymes. While many skin-thusiasts use Vitamin C for boosting their collagen production and addressing any hyperpigmentation, there are a ton of other incredible benefits of Vitamin C that are super underrated. Let’s break all of those benefits down.
Why is Vitamin C important?
So, I bet you’re wondering, “How does my body use Vitamin C?” Well, the answer is: a lot of ways!
For one, Vitamin C is often used to boost our immune systems. That’s why products like Emergen-C go flying off the shelves during cold and flu season. It’s also why many people put lemon in their tea or in their water when they’re sick.
In terms of our bodies, Vitamin C can help alleviate stress and fight viral infections and sore throats really well. Vitamin C is also important for:
- Boosting Collagen Production: As the protein found most in our bodies, collagen is key to maintaining the strength and structure of our hair, cartilage, teeth, skin, nails, bones, ligaments, and tendons. It’s also great for our skin! (We’ll get into this more later.)
- Fighting Inflammation: Studies have shown that consuming more Vitamin C can increase your blood’s antioxidant levels by 30%, which helps us fight inflammation. Plus, a raised antioxidant level is great for reducing your risk of developing a chronic disease like heart disease.
- Preventing Iron Deficiency: Iron is an important nutrient that is essential for producing red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout our bodies. Vitamin C helps improve the absorption of iron from food, assists in converting iron that is poorly absorbed and can reduce the risk of anemia. In fact, studies show that consuming 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67%. For all of the vegans and vegetarians out there, Vitamin C might be your new best friend.
- Managing High Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure patients are often instructed to take Vitamin C supplements since Vitamin C can help relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, which helps reduce blood pressure levels overall.
What are the benefits of Vitamin C for our skin?
Besides being essential for our bodily functions, Vitamin C is also great for our skin. As Hannah Montana says, it’s the best of both worlds! For one, a nice Vitamin C intake can help build collagen for our skin. That’s why many skincare products formulated to maintain and/or restore collagen use Vitamin C as a key ingredient.
Increased collagen production is a major *YES* because it improves our skin strength and gives us the feeling of having bouncy skin. With Vitamin C, we can protect our skin cells and keep our skin healthy overall.
With our skin health in mind, Vitamin C is also often used to reduce the appearance of:
Since it has antioxidants, Vitamin C can neutralize the free radicals that cause oxidative stress to our skin so we don’t experience premature skin aging (1). The increased production of collagen from Vitamin C also comes in handy for delaying signs of aging.
Vitamin C can block excess pigment production and brighten existing dark spots, which comes in handy for those of us with stubborn acne scars or sunspots. For this reason, it’s also often used as a skin-lightening treatment that can be used for dark circles and skin appearance concerns like pregnancy mask.
How can we best get Vitamin C?
Unlike other animals, humans have to consume Vitamin C since our bodies can’t produce it themselves. If you’re thinking about increasing your Vitamin C intake for the betterment of your body and your skin, you can find a great source of Vitamin C in your topical skincare products, supplements, and food.
Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare
Vitamin C is found at high levels in both the outermost layer (epidermis) and the innermost layer (dermis) of our skin. That’s why it plays such a big role in our skin's collagen production, decreasing any cell damage, and helping heal bodily wounds at a faster rate.
How? Well, collagen is made up of amino acids, and our body uses Vitamin C in the process of combining amino acids to form collagen. Not that you need any more convincing about how beneficial it is, but Vitamin C is also a helpful antioxidant that prevents free radical damage from our surrounding environments which could potentially lead to chronic diseases. For instance, many Vitamin C serums can help us protect our skin from harmful elements like dirt, smoke, UV light, and other unwelcome toxins in the air.
Benefits of Taking Vitamin C
While it’s usually recommended to get your daily intake of Vitamin C from a balanced, nutritious meal, a lot of people turn to supplements to address their bodies’ needs. This really comes in handy for anyone who’s constantly on the go and may not have time to plan out Vitamin C-rich meals.
If you’re not too keen on taking supplements, you can also get Vitamin C through the food you eat. Wondering where to start? We got you covered. Turns out, you can get Vitamin C through way more than just oranges. Here are some foods and drinks that are yummy and packed full of Vitamin C:
- Sweet potatoes
- Hibiscus tea
- Bell peppers
As they always say, mother knows best! Vitamin C is way more important for your body and skin than you might’ve realized. That’s why it’s super important to up your intake if you want to experience all the benefits of Vitamin C.
Keep in mind, the recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90mg for men (2). Luckily for us, there are plenty of delicious ways to get a daily intake of Vitamin C. I mean, I don’t know about you… but that hibiscus tea is calling my name.
Written by Selena Ponton