Does vitamin C really work?

Sharine Forbes
Geriatric Medicine

Vitamin C has proven to be excellent in terms of helping the skin produce collagen as well as being an antioxidant. As one ages the connective structures in the dermal papillae tend to reduce in size as collagen levels decrease. Thus, consuming vitamin C can help preserve the vitality and youthfulness of the skin. Applying vitamin C to the skin has proven to be 20 times more effective then when consumed orally. 

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a vital nutrient in your diet. It acts as a coenzyme that is needed to synthesize and use certain amino acids. In particular, vitamin C is needed to make collagen, the most abundant protein in your body. Collagen is plentiful in your connective tissue, which supports and connects all your body parts, so this protein is needed for healthy bones, teeth, skin, and blood vessels Thus, a vitamin C deficient diet would affect your entire body.

Like beta-carotene and vitamin E, vitamin C acts an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It also helps you absorb the iron in plant foods such as grains and cereals and break down histamine, the component behind the inflammation seen in many allergic reactions. Vitamin C helps keep your immune system healthy by enabling your body to make white blood cells, like the ones shown in the photo above. These blood cells fight infections, and provide an immune-boosting role.

You need vitamin C daily in your diet but can easily get it from a variety of fruits and veggies such as citrus fruits, watermelon, cantaloupe, broccoli, and potatoes.
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Vitamin C is known to help with the development of bones, tissue, and muscles and also helps the body absorb iron from ingested food. Therefore, proper amounts of it are necessary for your body to function properly. Vitamin C tablets, taken as directed, can help to increase low levels of vitamin C within your body. When vitamin C is given by injection or by mouth for scurvy, symptoms may begin to improve within three or four days.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.