Vitamin C is one of the most well-known vitamins, and people typically load up on it to try to fight off or prevent the common cold. But how effective is Vitamin C for wiping out colds anyway? And beyond being a go-to vitamin during the winter cold season, what else does this super-nutrient do for your body?
You may be surprised at just how far-reaching the benefits of Vitamin C are within your body. And you may also be shocked to find out that even though you can find it in most fruits and veggies, you may actually still be lacking in it.
Read on to learn about what vitamin C is, benefits of consuming it, and recommended sources and supplements. (We’re partial to meal replacement shake powders mixed with fruit!)
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin known best for its benefits to your immune system, heart, and skin. It’s one of the most important vitamins for your body’s natural healing processes.
Like all of the essential vitamins that your body needs, you can’t produce vitamin C yourself. Therefore, you need to get it from your diet or a vitamin C supplement (and we’ll go into this a bit more later).
Vitamin C Dosage
Now that you know what vitamin C can potentially do for you, let’s talk about how much of it you need.
The daily recommended intake for vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90mg for men.
Though you can absolutely get your intake of the nutrient from vitamin C foods, some experts suggest also taking a supplement. The reason behind this is because some studies showing the benefits of vitamin C are from daily doses of 500mg – much higher than the daily recommended intake of 75-90mg.
Basically, you would have to get nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to get anywhere close to the 500mg dosage from foods! Most people typically don’t do this, so taking a supplement can help you reach a higher intake.
Can You Overdose on Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and your body will flush out what it doesn’t need. However, the recommended upper limit is 2,000mg per day. Although taking too much vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, doses over 2,000mg may cause vitamin C side effects such as nausea, an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Top 5 Vitamin C Benefits
While vitamin C supplements are extremely popular, and there’s even a good chance you already take one, you may not realize all the ways that Vitamin C might benefit your body! Some of these ways include…
1) Strong Antioxidant Properties
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, therefore it helps protect your body from the negative effects of free radicals. An over-accumulation of free radicals can break down your body’s defenses and leave you vulnerable to sickness and disease, but vitamin C protects your cells. By reducing inflammation in the body, Vitamin C helps boost blood antioxidant levels and keep you well.
2) Supports Heart Health
Studies show that Vitamin C may protect your heart in a number of ways. By taking the nutrient, you can potentially decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering high blood pressure, decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol, and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. The dosage that’s been shown to be effective for heart health purposes is 500mg per day.
3) Helps Prevent Iron Deficiencies
Getting enough Vitamin C may also help prevent an iron deficiency, and potentially improve iron levels in those who are lacking in the mineral. This is because vitamin C supplements have been shown to improve the absorption of iron from the diet – specifically by transforming plant-based sources into a form that’s easier to absorb. This is especially beneficial for vegans, vegetarians and anyone else who doesn’t eat a lot of meat, to help them get enough iron.
4) Boosts Immunity
Vitamin C aids in the proper functioning of the immune system in a number of ways. Mainly, it encourages the production of white blood cells (called lymphocytes and phagocytes), which help protect the body from infections. It also protects them from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C also helps protect the skin by strengthening your skin’s barriers and helping your wounds heal faster.
5) Protects Good Memory and Thinking
Since Vitamin C’s strong antioxidant abilities are able to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress near the brain, spine and nerves, this may protect against memory loss as you get older. Low levels of this vitamin have been linked to a lesser ability to think and remember; But higher intakes from food or supplements have been shown to have a protective effect on thinking and memory with age.
Recommended Vitamin C Sources and Supplements
If you know you don’t get enough fresh fruits and veggies in your diet, it’s time to make some healthy dietary changes to avoid a vitamin C deficiency. Since it can be hard to eat healthy on a busy schedule, you may want to be on the safe side and take a vitamin C supplement.
If you decide to go this route, you have lots of choices for which supplement to take. While you can take a multi-vitamin, vitamin C capsules, or even vitamin C powder, liposomal vitamin C supplements are increasing in popularity due to their superior absorption technology within the body.
Finally, especially if you live a busy lifestyle and are concerned about getting all of the nutrients your body needs, one of your best options is high-quality meal replacement shakes.Along with Vitamin C, many of these shakes contain a plethora of essential vitamins and minerals – and can help you reach higher daily levels.
As an added plus, you can also add a variety of fresh fruits and veggies into your meal replacement shake smoothies – getting even more Vitamin C! This makes it one of the best options for a quick and healthy meal on-the-go.
Check out this list of the top meal replacement shakes this year… We hope our in-depth reviews will help you find the one that’s best suited for you!