Benefits of Vitamin C

Getting enough or getting too much?

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The benefits of vitamin C are numerous in the human body.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is required for at least 300 metabolic functions including tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function and healthy gums.  It is probably best known as a remedy for the common cold, although this is not proven.  

Vitamin C is essential for strengthening the cells of the immune system and for producing anti-stress hormones.  Our body uses vitamin C when we are under stress, injured or traumatised in anyway and as levels run low under those conditions, it leaves us prone to illness and infection.

The iron found in many plant foods is absorbed into the body more efficiently with the help of vitamin C.  This is most beneficial to vegetarians who lack the iron found in meats.

The facts on vitamin C and what it is needed for:

  • Collagen formation and the collagen needed for skin, bone, joint and arterial health
  • Needed to help hold together cells and organs in the body
  • The excretion of cholesterol and all steroid hormones, except for oestrogen
  • Detox out system from trace metals found in food
  • Needed to burn fats for energy, which is important to heart health
  • Helps to absorb iron
  • Activate folic acid
  • Helps to recycle vitamin E
  • Vitamin C also has anti-viral, anti-histamine and other anti-inflammatory properties

Symptoms that could indicate a vitamin C deficiency

  • Frequent infections (especially viral)
  • Allergies
  • Iron deficiency anaemia and paleness
  • Depression and apathy

Connective tissue problems such as:

  • Easy bruising
  • Nose bleeds
  • Bleeding and swollen gums
  • Broken capillaries
  • Muscle and joint pain (especially ankles)
  • Slow wound healing
  • Haemorrhages

Which are foods give the best benefits of vitamin C?

High levels are found in fresh raw fruits and vegetables

The best foods high in vitamin C are:

foods high in vitamin C
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  • Citrus fruits
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Guavas
  • Peppers

The best vegetable sources of vitamin C are:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Cress

What happens if I have too much vitamin C?

It is not uncommon for vitamin C, especially when taken as a supplement, to have an adverse effect on the digestive system in the form of upset stomach and loose bowel movements.  Also high doses of vitamin C are not recommended if there is a history of kidney stones or high iron levels.  

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