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Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the most beneficial supplements. It is responsible for overall well-being and aids in prevention of numerous diseases and illness. The benefits of vitamin C include shortening the severity and length of the common cold, preventing cancer and speeding the healing process of wounds. It also strengthens the immune system.
This vitamin is water-soluble and is most prevalent in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, pineapples and papayas. Many vegetables also contain vitamin C, including tomatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, green peppers, spinach, lettuce and beans. Ascorbic acid is necessary for healthy body functions and must be obtained through diet or supplements.
The benefits of vitamin C account for more than 300 metabolic functions in the human body. It is considered an antioxidant — an organic substance that counters the damaging effects of oxidative deterioration. This powerful antioxidant is necessary for tissue growth and repair, collagen repair and adrenal gland function. Vitamin C also helps protect the body against harmful chemicals found in pollution and cancer.
Additional benefits of vitamin C include lowering heart disease and stroke by keeping cholesterol from oxidizing. It also increases good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lowers bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Not only does it lower blood pressure, it also aids in the production of red blood cells, which is essential for blood clotting and preventing anemia.
Vitamin C is beneficial for bone and teeth development as well as overall gum health. It helps the synthesis of hormones, including the thyroid hormone, which controls the rate of metabolism in the body. It is also beneficial to eye health, helping block the sunlight’s free radicals that cause cataracts in the eye lens.
The benefits of vitamin C are many. It is one of the safest supplements, and a person cannot overdose. Any excess in the body is lost through urination. Daily requirements of vitamin C for an adult range from 75-100 milligrams. Children require 30-80 milligrams of vitamin C a day. Increasing doses during the onset of sickness, such as the typical cold, can help decrease the severity of the illness.
Certain factors alter the effectiveness of vitamin C. People who smoke, those who drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day and those who eat little or no fruits and vegetables should increase their doses of vitamin C. Cooking decreases the levels of vitamin C in fruits and vegetables, so those who eat only the canned versions of those foods also need to increase their vitamin C intake. Nourishing the immune system is a major benefit of vitamin C, so people who are exposed to any situation that burdens the immune system, such as being heavily medicated, living in a polluted area or being in a high-stress environment, also increase their vitamin C intake.