5 Benefits of taking Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C first came to be known as the nutrient that prevents scurvy. For most of us living in North America, that’s now a thing of the past as we’re able to meet our daily intake through diet alone. Today, we know that vitamin C is essential for numerous bodily functions from skin health to immune function! Let’s explore some of the many benefits of taking vitamin C supplements.
1. Vitamin C boosts immunity
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that play numerous roles in our body. Historically, it’s been known as potent immune builder and booster, just as all antioxidants are. Studies have shown that a regular intake of 1000 mg of vitamin C can help shorten the length of respiratory tract infections and the common flu (1).
2. Vitamin C can help prevent anemia and low iron levels
Have you ever been told to take your iron supplement alongside orange juice? This is because vitamin C helps with the absorption of “non-heme iron”. This is a type of iron typically found in plant foods, fortified cereal and eggs that isn’t absorbed as well by the body as heme iron, the type found in animal protein.
Therefore, if you lead a plant-based life, incorporating vitamin C, either through food or supplementation, is important (2).
3. Vitamin C promotes better skin health
Let’s take a minute to talk about collagen. While many people consume collagen as a supplement today, our body does create its own with the help of vitamin C. This isn’t a call to quit taking your collagen! But think about combining with vitamin C for additional support.
Vitamin C isn’t only important for collagen production and its potential wrinkle-reducing effects (3)! As we already mentioned, vitamin C is an important antioxidant. This means that it protects against free radical damage and oxidative stress caused by external factors like UV rays, pollution, chemical-laden beauty products, and smoking (4).
4. Vitamin C is an important supplement to take when on the birth control pill
While this isn’t exactly a “benefit”, many nutrients can be depleted by the use of the pill. One big example is vitamin C (alongside B-vitamins, zinc and magnesium). If you are taking the birth control pill, you should consider incorporating a vitamin C supplement into your routine.
5. Vitamin C may reduce your risk of gout
Gout is a form of arthritis that can manifest as swelling, tenderness, and redness in the joints. Typically, this is found in the big toe and is caused by a buildup of urate crystals from uric acid that has not properly left the body. This is where vitamin C comes in!
Studies have shown that a greater intake of total vitamin C is associated with significantly lower serum uric acid concentrations in the body (5).
Can you take too much vitamin C?
Yes, but the upper limit is much higher than we are told. First, it’s always important to remember that the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of most nutrients is the minimum amount to need to avoid illness, not the amount you should intake to feel your best.
This is why 1,000 mg per day is the standard recommended dose of vitamin C. Some medical and naturopathic doctors may also suggest taking to bowel tolerance. Typically, this is how you’ll know when you’ve taken too much vitamin C: when you’re left running to the washroom.
For the most part, aside from loose stools, excess vitamin C intake will not cause any harm.