Vitamin C is an important vitamin that plays many different roles in the body. Here are six things you may not know about this nutrient.
Vitamin C is a popular supplement, especially now that improving immune health is at the top of everyone’s mind. It’s also an essential nutrient that our bodies need. Here are six surprising fun facts about vitamin C that you may not have known about!
1. Vitamin C is an antioxidant
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it can help neutralize compounds called free radicals. We are exposed to free radicals in the environment, and when they build up in the body in high enough levels, they can cause inflammation and oxidative damage to our cells. Free radical damage has been linked to conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as many other health issues.
2. Vitamin C is not just in citrus fruits
Although you may associate vitamin C with citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, many fruits and vegetables are rich sources of the vitamin. In fact, foods like bell peppers, strawberries, kale, and broccoli are surprisingly high in vitamin C—providing nearly a day’s worth (or more, in some cases) in a single serving!
3. High-dose vitamin C is not always a good thing
Some people think that high-dose vitamin C will prevent them from getting sick. However, this is not necessarily the case. Vitamin C does strengthen the immune system, but normally, your body excretes any excess vitamin C through your urine. In fact, high doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhea because it can pull fluid from your cells into your digestive tract. Unless instructed otherwise by a doctor, you shouldn’t consume more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day.
4. Vitamin C needs may increase when you’re critically ill
Critically ill people, like those who are hospitalized and on ventilators, may have temporarily higher vitamin C needs than normal. Vitamin C may significantly decrease inflammation, making it easier for people with respiratory illnesses to restore healthy lung function and breathe easier. However, these needs are often so high that the vitamin C is given intravenously instead of orally.
5. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better
Taking vitamin C with iron can help your body absorb the iron better. This is particularly helpful information if you are iron-deficient. When you eat iron-rich foods, like meats or dark leafy greens, try adding a source of vitamin C, like a piece of fruit or some bell pepper, to boost your body’s iron absorption.
6. Vitamin C helps your body produce collagen
Vitamin C is necessary for your body to make collagen, a protein that provides structure and support to your skin, joints, muscles, and bones. This means that vitamin C may play a role in wound healing and muscle recovery after exercise.
To get more vitamin C in your diet, make sure you’re eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. You can also choose a supplement that contains some added vitamin C. Medlixr’s chocolate and vanilla collagen both contain added vitamin C to help boost the skin and soft tissue-repairing benefits of collagen peptides.