If you were asked to name a vitamin, vitamin C is probably the first one you'd think of. We're taught the benefits of vitamin C from a young age, which probably meant finishing your vegetables before getting dessert as a child and drinking orange juice with your breakfast as an adult.
Each Monday, we're going to be taking a look at a supplement you may or may not have heard of, providing you with the 10 best uses and reasons to love it, so you can determine if it could help you live a more healthful life. We're kicking it off this week with vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that's a recommended daily component of a balanced, nutritious diet. Here are the recommended daily intake amounts by age, according to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Mayo Clinic:
Adult Men: 90 mg
Adult Women: 75 mg
Adolescent Boys: 75 mg
Adolescent Girls: 65 mg
Children (Ages Nine to 13): 45 mg
Children (Ages Four to Eight): 25 mg
Children (Ages One to Three): 15 mg
Infants: 30 to 35 mg
Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency including weakness, bruising, dry or splitting hair, dry skin and poor wound healing. The most extreme form of vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy. Reversing scurvy symptoms requires extra vitamin C, administered under a doctor's supervision, for about one week.
Whether you eat fruits or vegetables, drink juice or take vitamin C supplements, you're making a smart choice for your health. Here are 10 ways your body uses vitamin C and why it's otherwise amazing:
1. Growth -- Vitamin C helps in the formation of a protein that makes up the tissues of the body, like the tendons, ligaments, skin and blood vessels.
2. Antioxidant Protection -- As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps to defend the cells of the body against free radicals that can damage them and lead to illness, while also boosting the immune system.
3. Healing -- Not only does vitamin C help to heal wounds on the soft tissues of the body by promoting the development of scar tissue, it also helps repair the teeth, bones and cartilage.
4. Disease Prevention -- Daily intake of vitamin C can help lower your risk for developing certain cancers as well as heart disease and inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, by promoting collagen production.
5. Common Cold Fighter -- While vitamin C hasn't been proven to directly prevent a common cold, it can help shorten the length of a cold and reduce the severity of symptoms. Anyone enduring intense physical exercise or exposed to extremely cold temperatures can especially benefit from vitamin C.
6. Healthy Hair -- Vitamin C helps the hair retain moisture to prevent breakage or dryness. Having hair that's splitting or dry is a common sign of vitamin C deficiency.
7. Anti-Aging -- Vitamin C is now a common ingredient in anti-aging creams, lotions and serums for preventing and improving the appearance of lines and wrinkles as well as dark spots. Most formulas have between five and 10 percent vitamin C.
8. Lower Blood Pressure -- While research continues regarding vitamin C's effectiveness, it's been shown to support medications for lowering systolic blood pressure. The combination of the two being essential for results.
9. Iron Absorption -- Iron is needed for maintaining healthy red blood cells and muscle tissue. Vitamin C has been shown to help the body absorb this important mineral more easily for better use throughout the body.
10. Arteries -- Vitamin C can help protect the venous tone of the arteries, prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and lower the risk for developing peripheral arterial disease in women.
Fruits and vegetables remain the best way to get more vitamin C in your diet. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of the highest concentrations of the vitamin can be found in berries, watermelon, mango, spinach, red and green peppers and tomatoes.
Make sure you're getting enough vitamin C in your daily diet or try a supplement -- they're available in chewables, gummies, capsules and liquids to make taking them easier. Research continues to determine the exact role of vitamin C in disease prevention, as well as the recommended dose to see results.
Those are our 10 best uses for vitamin C. Why do you love vitamin C? Check back next week to learn more about another one of our favorite supplements, available at eVitamins.