Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin meaning the body cannot make it. It plays many vital roles in the body and is important to cardiovascular health. Vitamin C is also required for immune function and can be used to prevent or treat several health conditions.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and the body will excrete what it doesn’t need.
Many foods are naturally rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and leafy greens yet sometimes diet alone is not enough and supplementation is necessary.
Here are 7 health benefits of vitamin C:
- 1. Vitamin C helps produce collagen
- Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue including that of the heart. It is the most abundant protein in the body. Vitamin C helps the body form healthy blood vessel structure and muscle tissue. If vitamin C levels are inadequate, this can lead to a weakening of arteries and can lead to atherosclerosis.
- A study gave participants 16 g of collagen tripeptides for 6 months and evaluated their risk of atherosclerosis in healthy individuals. The study found that collagen decreased arterial stiffness, highlighting the need for adequate vitamin C levels and thus adequate collagen levels (Source).
- 2. Vitamin C helps create L-carnitine
- L-carnitine is an amino acid that is linked to cardiac health. L-carnitine is needed for proper energy production. It transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria of the heart’s muscle cells for energy use. On top of this, L-carnitine plays a role in removing toxins from the mitochondria and works to reduce oxidative stress. Maintaining sufficient levels of this amino acid is key to heart health, and vitamin C is necessary to ensure your body makes sufficient levels of it.
- Vitamin C, which is needed to synthesize L-carnitine, is inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk (Source). In other words, the more vitamin C you have, the better off your heart muscle cells are.
- 3. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and may reduce risk of chronic disease
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen the body’s natural defenses. Excess free radicals (toxic molecules that damage cells) can result in increased amounts of oxidative stress. High levels of oxidative stress are linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and many more chronic diseases.
- There is evidence to suggest that vitamin C, as an antioxidant, can help to prevent heart disease (and other chronic diseases) (Source). In fact, research has established that chronic vitamin C deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease (Source).
- 4. Vitamin C can lower blood pressure
- Vitamin C also plays a role in blood pressure reduction and there are many speculated mechanisms for why this occurs. One of the mechanisms is that vitamin C can help to relax and dilate blood vessels, supporting healthy blood pressure. Another mechanism is that vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which protects the structure and integrity of blood vessels and their function. Lastly, vitamin C can act as diuretic and stimulate the kidneys to excrete excess water and sodium, which helps to relax blood vessel walls and lower blood pressure.
- In short-term clinical trials, it has been found that vitamin C supplementation significantly reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure, protecting the heart (Source).
- 5. Vitamin C can lower heart disease risk by reducing oxidation of LDL protein
- Another way vitamin C protects the heart is by preventing harmful, oxidative changes to low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Oxidized LDL is essentially damaged LDL and this damaged LDL contributes to heart disease. Diseases like atherosclerosis are the result of oxidative damage to tissues. There are many natural treatments for oxidized LDL and vitamin C is one of them.
- As an antioxidant, vitamin C is able to reduce oxidation processes in the body (Source). Due to vitamin C’s ability to prevent oxidation of LDL, it can also prevent atherosclerosis (or the buildup of damaged LDL).
- 6. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system
- Vitamin C plays an active role in many parts of immunity. Adequate levels of vitamin C supports a healthy immune system and are needed to support growth and repair of tissue. It is also an important component of both adaptive and innate immunity.
- Research has corroborated vitamin C’s important role in immune function, specifically revealing that low levels of vitamin C are associated with impaired immunity and an increased risk of infections (Source).
- 7. Vitamin C can help to prevent Gout
- Gout is a painful joint disorder that is prevalent in today’s society. Gout symptoms result from excess uric acid in the blood that then gets deposited in the joints. There are many natural treatment remedies for gout and vitamin C is one of these powerful treatments.
- Research has established that increased levels of vitamin C are associated with a reduced risk of gout (Source). Furthermore, vitamin C supplementation is likely beneficial for preventing and treating gout attacks (Source).
Who is at risk for a vitamin C deficiency?
- Individuals with leaky gut syndrome or other malabsorption disorders
- Malabsorption conditions, such as leaky gut or cancer, can reduce the absorption of vitamin C and require increased intakes of vitamin C.
- Individuals who smoke
- Smokers have increased amounts of oxidative stress and depleted quantities of vitamin C as a result.
- Individuals who have limited food variety
- A varied diet, one rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other foods, helps to provide the daily requirements of vitamin C. If a diet is lacking food and nutrient variety, one is at risk for a vitamin C deficiency.
Should I supplement?
Research has shown that there are many cardiovascular benefits to taking higher doses of vitamin C (Source). If you have a heart condition, or fall into any of the at-risk groups for a vitamin C deficiency mentioned above, then supplementation is likely necessary.
We recommend Super C. One tablet per day, or as directed by your physician.
Super C boosts cardiovascular health through detoxification, optimization of blood pressure levels and support of healthy artery and vein structure. Super C also supports healthy immune system function to prevent illness and chronic disease.
Get tested to know your intracellular levels of vitamin C today!
Summary of information:
- Vitamin C is an important water-soluble nutrient that is needed for optimal health. This micronutrient plays a role in preventing chronic disease, especially cardiovascular disease.
- Research has shown it is needed to create collagen, produce L-carnitine, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL oxidation and boost immunity.
- We recommend 1 tablet of Super C daily for depleted vitamin C levels or disease prevention.