Vitamin C Benefits
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient and vitamin essential for life and for maintaining optimal health. It is also known by the chemical name of its principal form ascorbic acid. It is used by the body for many purposes.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, helps to maintain healthy collagen in the skin, repair damaged tissue, promote healthy teeth and bones, and boost the immune system.
Vitamin C is one of the more powerful and well-known antioxidants. Just as exposing a cut apple to air causes it to quickly turn brown, cells of the body can also suffer damage when exposed to oxygen, a process known as oxidation. Oxidation causes aging of the skin as well as all other organs and tissues of the body. Vitamin C, as a free-radical fighter, helps ward off wrinkles and many illnesses linked to oxidation, including cataracts, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
How powerful is Vitamin C? Listen to what the experts have said about this remarkable nutrient. Dr. James Enstrom of UCLA has been quoted as saying that "A thirty-five-year-old man who eats Vitamin C-rich foods and takes Vitamin C supplements will slash his chances of heart disease death by two thirds and live 6.3 years longer". And according to the late Dr. Linus Pauling--a two-time Nobel Laureate and perhaps history's strongest advocate for the benefits of Vitamin C--supplemental doses of Vitamin C could add as much as twelve to eighteen years to our lives (Dr. Pauling also held the belief that ascorbic acid held the cure to the common cold).
Are such claims unfounded? Well, as of yet, there is no proof that vitamin C can cure the common cold, though, as an immune system strengthener, ascorbic acid can certainly help alleviate the symptoms of a cold. However, when it comes to longevity, life extension, anti-aging, what have you, evidence has been produced to validate the claim that Vitamin C can improve life expectancy. One analysis of the dietary consumption of eleven thousand individuals found that getting 300 milligrams daily of Vitamin C could add as much as six years to the life of a man and as much as two years to the life of a woman.
Vitamin C functions as an anti-inflammatory, and helps the body fight inflammatory diseases, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. A multitude of other conditions may be improved vitamin C, including angina, bronchitis, bruises, canker sores, constipation, diabetes, eyestrain, gingivitis, glaucoma, hangover, infertility, joint pain, rashes, rosacea, shingles, sore throat, sprains, sunburn, and yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and scurvy (a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency). Because vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, it is also useful in treating iron deficiency and anemia.
Almost all animals and plants synthesize their own vitamin C. There are some exceptions, such as humans and a small number of other animals, including, apes, guinea pigs, the red-vented bulbul, a fruit-eating bat and a species of trout. This has led some scientists, including chemist Linus Pauling to hypothesize that these species either lost (or never had) the ability to produce their own Vitamin C, and that if their diets were supplemented with an amount of the nutrient proportional to the amount produced in animal species that do synthesize their own Vitamin C, better health would result.