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The Health Benefits of Taking Vitamin C Year-Round

What's the first thing most of us do when the initial signs of a cold or flu appear?

That’s right, we head to the medicine cabinet, rush out to the nearest drug store, or fill our shopping cart with citrus to increase our intake of vitamin C. No questions asked.

But if vitamin C boosts our immune system so effectively, why don’t we prioritize it as an essential day-to-day nutrient instead of a reactive response to sudden illness?

Sure, many hit their recommended daily dose naturally through their diets, but approximately 18 million American adults are still vitamin C deficient.

This widespread deficiency (albeit comparatively small to the cumulative vitamin D deficiency) is a real head-scratcher when considering the variety of foods rich in vitamin C and supplements geared towards reaching our daily recommended doses.

What’s more, the health boons of vitamin C don’t start and stop at strengthening the immune system – far from it. Vitamin C fosters many vital bodily functions, making an even stronger case for its daily use.

Let’s unpack the abundant health benefits of vitamin C, recommended daily doses, familiar sources of vitamin C, and how those factors all point to daily intake.

Why Is Vitamin C Important?

One crucial fact to understand about vitamin C is that it’s an essential, water-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body can’t make or store it, and any excess is expelled in urine. Luckily for us, vitamin C is abundant in numerous fruits and vegetables, with many supplemental options available, making it an easy addition to our daily diets.

Vitamin C Promotes Healthy Immune Systems

Taking vitamin C for common colds is arguably one of the most widely propagated health-based rules of thumb ever.

But how is vitamin C actually going to bat for our immune systems?

  • Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells to add extra layers of protection from infection and disease.
  • In addition to stimulating white blood cell production, vitamin C shields them from damage as they help the body fight off threats.
  • Vitamin C has been shown to shorten the healing time of wounds.

White blood cells are the foot soldiers of the immune system, patrolling the body for infections using your bloodstream and tissues. Once the source of infection is located, white blood cells go to work alerting the entire immune system, thus rallying more white blood cells to the scene while producing antibody proteins that effectively eradicate the infection.

Vitamin C strengthens this army of white blood cells and the subsequent strength of immune responses.

Vitamin C Functions as a Powerful Antioxidant

Before discussing vitamin C as an antioxidant, let’s quickly touch on oxidative stress in general.

Oxidative stress refers to the difference between the body’s level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the rate at which natural mechanisms eliminate them. Thus, oxidative stress, a precursor and cause of chronic inflammation, occurs when these reactive oxygen species (also known as free radicals) accumulate beyond your body’s ability to eliminate them.

So, antioxidants protect against inflammatory responses caused by reactive oxygen species. ROS are natural by-products of cell activity (breaking down food, sun exposure, etc.), indicating the importance of taking daily vitamin C to mitigate inflammation.

Vitamin C Assists in Iron Absorption

Speaking of essential vitamins and minerals, iron is near the top of the list. Iron’s importance derives from its role in producing hemoglobin and myoglobin, two essential proteins in red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body.

Without sufficient iron levels, the body can’t efficiently distribute oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, resulting in a jumble of potential health problems.

Vitamin C significantly improves iron absorption from food, especially in plant-based sources of iron, which aren’t easily absorbed.

Vitamin C augments iron absorption so effectively that, in one study, children with mild anemia used Vitamin C to manage their conditions without other treatments.

Vitamin C Promotes Collagen Production

Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the human body, creating strong bones, cartilage, tendons, connective tissues, and healthy skin.

Collagen functions like the molecular bricks of the body, adding yet another reason for daily vitamin C intake to spur the biosynthesis (production) of this structural supermolecule.

This study, drawing the line between vitamin C and skin health, summarizes the link between vitamin C and collagen production. It states, "Vitamin C, in its purest form, is the only antioxidant to increase collagen synthesis. This is because it is an L-ascorbic acid, which helps form prolyl hydroxylase, an enzyme necessary for the creation of a stable collagen molecule. Not only this, but it’s also essential for the enzyme lysyl hydroxylase, which improves tissue strength by crosslinking collagen molecules together.”

In other words, vitamin C not only stimulates the synthesis of collagen but also strengthens the superstructure of collagen in the form of more elastic, healthy skin.

What's the Recommended Daily Dose of Vitamin C?

The recommended daily dose of vitamin C typically varies by age, gender, and overall health. Most people receive an adequate daily dose of vitamin C through their diet, but it’s still worth double-checking your intake to ensure that you meet the recommended amount.

This table from the National Institute of Health (NIH) covers the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamin C from early childhood development through adulthood. Note the differences for pregnancies and smokers.

Age Male Female Pregnancy  Location
0 - 6 mos 40mg 40mg
7 - 12 mos 50mg 50mg
1 -3 yrs 15mg 15mg
4 - 8 yrs 25mg 25mg
9 - 13 yrs 45mg 45mg
14 - 18 yrs 75mg 65mg 80mg 115mg
19+ yrs 90mg 75mg 85mg 120mg

Individuals who smoke require 35mg/day more Vitamin C than nonsmokers.


 Source: National Institute of Health

Can You Have Too Much Vitamin C?

While the chart above references recommended allowances, you can still consume a considerable amount of vitamin C before experiencing any adverse symptoms.

The upper limit of vitamin C intake is approximately 2,000mg, which can lead to symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, headaches, and stomach cramps. Taking too much vitamin C isn’t advised because of the uncomfortable symptoms that may follow, but long-term health complications from large doses of vitamin C are still exceptionally rare.

Remember, the body can’t store vitamin C and will quickly work to expel any excess vitamin C that it doesn’t need.

Best Sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is present in loads of different fruits and vegetables (check out the top 20 dietary sources of vitamin C here). For the sake of keeping things simple and accessible, here are five common foods that will guarantee to boost your daily vitamin C intak

  • Citrus Fruits
  • Bell Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous Vegetables

What Is Liposomal Vitamin C?

Liposomes are microscopic bubbles that behave like cell membranes, enabling better absorption of vitamin C as it travels throughout the body. Similar in concept to enteric-coated medication, which protects drugs from gastric acids in the stomach so they can penetrate deeper into our systems, liposomal vitamin C is a more potent and effective form of this essential daily vitamin.

Try Body Kitchen’s Vitamin C Supplement - Liposomal C

Boost your immunity with 1,000mg of vitamin C in one single serving. This powerful Vitamin C formula can also be used in combination with any of our collagen formulas for improved skin moisture results. Vitamin C with Liposomal C has been clinically proven to have 120% improved absorption compared to other sources of vitamin C.

Don’t wait to enjoy the benefits of Liposomal C. Try it today!