Vitamin C was first widely acknowledged in the mid 1900s, when it was found to help prevent scurvy in sailors. Since that time, vitamin C has become recognized as an essential nutrient involved in countless processes throughout the body.
Vitamin C comes primarily from fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and kiwi. Bell peppers, tomatoes, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are also rich in vitamin C. Because vitamin C is a “water-soluble” vitamin, the body cannot store it long term, so it’s crucial that you get enough from your diet and good quality supplements. Upping your dietary vitamin C intake is as simple as adding berries to your cereal, spinach/tomato to your sandwich, drinking a smoothie with fruit and/or veggies, or cooking a hearty vegetable soup to celebrate the coming fall weather.
You’ve probably heard Vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system. It does this by increasing the production of white blood cells, making your immune system better at identifying and fighting illness. More white blood cells also means your body is able to heal wounds more quickly. Vitamin C uses go far beyond fending off the common cold - here are a few other ways it helps you healthy from head to toe:
Collagen. Vitamin C is a key ingredient in the production of collagen. Collagen supports strong skin, nails, and healthy teeth. Collagen, and by extension Vitamin C, also help the endothelium, a membrane that lines your heart and every blood vessel in your body, stay strong. The health of the endothelium impacts platelet count, blood clotting, and artery flexibility, protecting you from high blood pressure and heart disease.
Cognitive function. Vitamin C has been found to have a profound effect on the way our brains perform. In several studies, taking vitamin C supplements was linked to increased focus, sharper memory, and a happier state of mind. Vitamin C is thought to help your brain regulate its dopamine and serotonin levels, both crucial to a sense of wellbeing. General fatigue and depression have been found to occur alongside vitamin C deficiencies.
Iron absorption. Lastly, vitamin C helps your body absorb and use iron - particularly the “non-heme” iron found in vegetables. Women, children, and vegetarians are more at risk for iron deficiency, so taking a vitamin C supplement is a great way to help keep your iron levels in the healthy range.
As fall approaches, now is a great time to up your Vitamin C intake and get a pre-winter wellness checkup! Schedule a time to chat with Dr. Jones and order our Immune Defense Pack on our online store.