Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, has long been known for its antioxidant effects. Whether it be announced by the typical citrus covered bottle or with fruit ridden packaging, it is most likely chock-full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that protect against “free radicals,” and they are required to maintain a healthy balance in the body. Vitamin C also plays a huge role in activating enzymes that, in turn, make collagen. Collagen, a connective tissue that runs through the body, is vital to your immune health as well as preventing bone loss and relieving joint pain.
So, what are free radicals? Free radicals are defined as single atoms of oxygen in the body which are vital to life, but, have been shown to wreak havoc on bodily function, causing damage to cells, proteins, and DNA. They are formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. The vitamin works to neutralize free radicals by giving up some of its own electrons, hence stopping a chain reaction of atom separation. It is likely once one free radical is released it will tear the rest of the chain of atoms along with it causing more damage. It is important to have antioxidants on hand in the body to avoid as much damage as possible.
Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen. During the creation process, vitamin C holds cells together helping synthesize collagen. Since vitamin C is water-soluble, it is important to maintain this vitamin daily, as it will leave the body quickly. Collagen contributes to the strength and resiliency of human tissues, and it is theorized that this reinforcement aids in slowing down the damage done to cells. Collagen makes up 80% of all tissues in the body, making it vital to our wellbeing. When collagen increases in the body, hair thickens, skin glows, and nails are strong. Vitamin C is necessary to help along the process.
Vitamin C versus ascorbic acid. Wait, but we just said up there that they were the same thing! It’s a little more complicated than that. Ascorbic acid is a derivative from the whole food vitamin C. Ascorbic acid does not even exist on its own in nature. A great indicator is the vitamin supplement label. If there are a bunch of strange unknown chemicals, it is probably just ascorbic acid. On the other hand, if it is an assortment of fruits and foods, it is the complete whole food vitamin C.
How can I consume more vitamin C? So glad you asked. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, as well as tomatoes, sweet and white potatoes, and leafy greens. The best way to get the most vitamin C out of your diet is to eat fruits and veggies raw. This prevents the stripping of vitamins that occurs during cooking your food. Supplements are a great way to incorporate more vitamins into your diet, but of course, alongside a nutritious diet.
Vitamin C is another vitamin essential to overall well being and health. It is important to maintain overall health to support immunity, rather than the only supplement for certain bodily functions. Check out our other blogs on health and wellness, and how to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
“Vitamin C.” The Nutrition Source, 2 Mar. 2020, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-c/.
Marshall, Lisa. “Collagen: ‘Fountain of Youth’ or Edible Hoax?” WebMD, WebMD, 12 Dec. 2019, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20191212/collagen-supplements-what-the-research-shows.
Authors Nancy Collins. “Nutrition 411: The Facts about Vitamin C and Wound Healing.” Wound Management & Prevention, www.o-wm.com/content/the-facts-about-vitamin-c-and-wound-healing#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20has%20many%20physiologic,in%20the%20formation%20of%20collagen.
Wang, Dr. David. “Vitamin C and Collagen.” Pranin Organic, 20 Nov. 2017, www.pranin.com/blog/vitamin-c-and-collagen/#:~:text=collagen%20and%20vitamin%20c%20benefits&text=It’s%20responsible%20for%20holding%20cells,hair%2C%20skin%20and%20other%20benefits.
“Tips for Getting Vitamin C.” WebMD, WebMD, 19 June 2000, www.webmd.com/balance/features/tips-for-getting-vitamin-c.