There are few vitamins that can impact on our health as much as vitamin C. It is important to everything from cognitive health, the immune system, nerve function, and even plays a role in maintaining connective tissue.
Vitamin C has such a large part in the optimal functioning of the body, it is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.
A vital anti-oxidant for the brain
Did you know that vitamin C plays a role in the function of our brain? The concentration of vitamin C in the brain is far greater than anywhere else in the body: the brain actually retains its vitamin C levels even when the rest of the body has run out. This is due to the powerful antioxidant properties of Vitamin C which counteract the damaging free radicals that are created when we think, feel, and act.
The brain also uses vitamin C to convert dopamine to the neurotransmitter serotonin (the ‘happy chemical’). Serotonin sends signals between nerve cells and regulates their intensity, and is also thought to also play a role in the gastrointestinal tract and general functioning of the body.
Immune system support
Yes it’s true that vitamin C helps the immune system. A study done in Switzerland found that taking vitamin C helps to reduce the symptoms and duration of respiratory infections, such as colds, bronchitis or sinusitis. Plus, it can also help with recovery from pneumonia.
Boosts heart health
Because vitamin C helps protect the body against injury from free radicals, it can protect the heart. When free radicals build up in the body they contribute to the development of health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
One study found that the risk of developing heart disease was lower in people who took at least 700 milligrams of vitamin C each day, as opposed to those people who didn’t take the supplement.
Another study from 2008 showed that taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C every day greatly reduced triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, two major contributors to heart disease.
Iron is vital to our health: it is part of the hemoglobin found in the red blood cells which helps to supply cells throughout the body with oxygen. Vitamin C can help improve iron absorption. A study carried out in 1995 found that taking vitamin C improved the anemia in dialysis patients who received transfusions, and their anemia became more p[ronounced after vitamin C supplementation was stopped.
A healthy vitamin C intake makes it easier for the body to cope with stress, as it supports the nervous system via the adrenal glands, where it helps to produce the adrenal (stress-response) hormones. If there is not much vitamin C available, the adrenal glands ‘panic’ and release even more cortisol. This may increase anxiety, negatively affect blood sugar levels and increase blood pressure. Chronically high cortisol levels can also impair cognitive performance, decrease muscle tissue and suppress thyroid function—all of which can stress the adrenal glands even more.
The body also uses vitamin C to make collagen, which is the main component of blood vessel walls, skin, and connective tissue. Vitamin C is so important to collagen formation, that a severe lack of vitamin C in the body results in scurvy—a debilitating disease that was a major health problem among sailors during the age of discovery (from the beginning of the 1600’s until the middle of the 1800’s).
Our bodies don’t store or make vitamin C so daily intake is absolutely essential. But it isn’t always possible to get our 5+ of fruits and veggies every day, so supplementation is a wise choice. Check out our range of affordable vitamin C products that can help you to optimise the function of your brain and body.