Symptoms of low vitamin C
This is another important vitamin that I see deficient in several of my clients. Before I had the hair analysis to work with, I would have to count on symptoms manifesting themselves to know if someone was deficient. There are actually many symptoms of low vitamin C, the obvious one being a poor immune system (they would get a lot of colds, etc.). Other potential signs of low C is if you have dry, damaged skin, bruise easily, slow-healing wounds, or maybe painful joints. Now, with hair analysis, we can just look at their report to see if a client needs to supplement with it.
Why vitamin C matters
Vitamin C is a nutrient your body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones. It’s an antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. It also helps your body absorb and store iron.
Your body doesn’t produce vitamin C, so you must get it from your diet. Your body also cannot store large amounts of vitamin C, so it’s important that we eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
It’s found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Here is a list of some foods that are especially high in vitamin C:
|Food||% of vitamin C per cup|
|Acerola cherry||2,740% of the RDI|
|Guava||628% of the RDI|
|Blackcurrants||338% of the RDI|
|Sweet red pepper||317% of the RDI|
|Kiwifruit||273% of the RDI|
|Lychee||226% of the RDI|
|Lemon||187% of the RDI|
|Orange||160% of the RDI|
|Strawberry||149% of the RDI|
|Papaya||144% of the RDI|
|Broccoli||135% of the RDI|
|Parsley||133% of the RDI|
Vitamin C also breaks down quickly when exposed to heat, so raw fruits and vegetables are better sources than cooked ones.
Five health benefits of the right amount of vitamin C
There are so many benefits to the right amount of vitamin C. Here are five of the top benefits we’ve noticed as we help clients get the right amount of vitamin C in their diets.
Benefit #1: Vitamin C helps maintain skin health
You might be surprised to learn what a large role vitamin C plays in our skin. When we first started on this health journey, David had really bad eczema. It was mostly on his hands, but it would also show up elsewhere from time to time. As we cleaned up his diet, he noticed that his bouts with eczema weren’t as bad as usual. When he added vitamin C supplements to his diet, we noticed that the eczema had gone away completely.
Healthy skin contains large amouonts of vitamin C, particularly in the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. In fact, research finds a concentration of up to 64 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of the epidermal skin layer. Vitamin C protects the skin from oxidative damage caused by sun and other pollutants. This vitamin also helps to promote collagen production, which is so important for healthy, youthful skin.
Studies show that vitamin C reduces inflammation and enhances the skin barrier function, which helps reduce water loss. This played a big role in solving David’s eczema. As his skin started retaining moisture, the pain and dryness associated with eczema went away.
Cleaning up his diet helped, but we believe that vitamin C made a big difference for his skin. Studies also show that vitamin C can even help prevent wrinkles from aging. That’s because a lack of vitamin C means an increased risk of having dry, thin, and wrinkled skin. I’m always interested in natural ways to reduce wrinkles! We do many things that help maintain our skin, and not just because it helps us look younger. The skin is an outward sign of what’s happening inside our bodies, so it’s extra important to us.
Benefit #2: Vitamin C helps with stress and anxiety
We live in an era where stress and anxiety are an unavoidable, seemingly daily part of our lives. I’m always interested in healthy ways to moderate stress and anxiety, and vitamin C can help.
Here’s how it works: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (or HPA axis) is activated when the body is exposed to stress. A cascade of hormonal changes occurs that causes the release of cortisol – our primary stress hormones – from our adrenal glands.
Normally, when a stressor goes away, a negative feedback cycle turns off the HPA axis and reduces the release of cortisol. Unfortunately, because of the level of stress we live with, many of us are constantly activating our HPA axis and suffering from chronic stress and a constant surge of cortisol.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help the body control cortisol levels, which trigger stress.
In a controlled study, students with anxiety who took vitamin C showed decreased stress and anxiety levels compared to those who took a placebo. This means that one of the best ways to negate the effects of stress and anxiety is simple: just add more vitamin C to our diet.
Benefit #3: Vitamin C helps reduce inflammation
You probably know by now that we really focus on reducing inflammation at More Than Healthy. Inflammation is the root cause of pain and chronic disease. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen your body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants boost the immune system, protecting the cells from harmful free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which is linked to many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Studies show that vitamin C increases blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%, helping the body’s natural defenses to fight inflammation. It is so effective that high doses of vitamin C are commonly given intravenously to hospitalized patients with severe respiratory illnesses, like influenza, pneumonia, and Covid-19, to help reduce inflammation.
I prefer to take my vitamin C preventatively to keep inflammation low and my immune system healthy!
Benefit #4: Vitamin C is great for heart health
This benefit of vitamin C is so important, as heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. About 1 of every 3 Americans has high blood pressure, which puts you at risk of heart disease. Studies prove that vitamin C lowers blood pressure in both those with and without a high blood pressure diagnosis.
One study found that taking vitamin C helped relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart, helping to reduce overall blood pressure levels. Another study found that vitamin C reduced systolic blood pressure by 3.8 mmHg and diastolic by 1.5 mmHg in healthy adults. This same test showed that vitamin C supplements reduced blood pressure by an even greater average in those with high blood pressure.
Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce other heart disease risk factors, such as blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Multiple studies show that taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduces LDL (or bad) cholesterol and blood triglycerides. And an extensive analysis of multiple studies with hundreds of thousands of participants found that after 10 years, people who took at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not supplement.
These studies make me extra grateful that David and I have been so faithful at taking our vitamin C!
Benefit #5: Vitamin C helps prevent iron deficiency
Iron is an important nutrient. It does many essential, life-sustaining things, like making red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. If you struggle with always feeling tired, you might be deficient in iron.
Vitamin C helps to improve the absorption of iron from the diet. Some iron is hard to absorb, such as plant-based sources of iron. Vitamin C helps convert it into a form the body can better absorb and use for energy. Consuming just 100 mg of vitamin C improves iron absorption by 67%. This helps reduce the risk of anemia, even among those who are prone to iron deficiency.
One study showed that children with mild iron deficiency anemia could control their anemia through a simple vitamin C supplement.
Additional health benefits of the right amount of vitamin C
Just in case I haven’t convinced you yet, there are so many other benefits of vitamin C! One you’re probably familiar with is that it can significantly boost your immunity. This is because vitamin C affects many parts of the immune system. It encourages production of white blood cells, whose job is to protect against infection. The vitamin C then helps the white blood cells to function more effectively while protecting them from damage from free radicals.
Vitamin C supplements have been shown to shorten recovery time of illnesses such as pneumonia, because of its ability to strengthen the immune system. Low vitamin C levels are linked to poor health, as patients with conditions from pneumonia to dementia typically show low levels of vitamin C when tested. Additionally, studies also show that the right amount of vitamin C shortens wound healing time.
I can’t leave out the fact that vitamin C helps memory. At More Than Healthy, we are interested in everything that can possibly help protect our brain health. Studies show that oxidative stress and inflammation near the central nervous system (including the brain and spine) can increase the risk of dementia. Low levels of vitamin C are linked to impaired ability to think and remember. In fact, several studies show that people with dementia have lower blood levels of vitamin C. Because of vitamin C’s strong antioxidant properties, it can help combat dementia. High vitamin C levels (from food or supplements) are proven to have a protective effect on thinking and memory as you age.
Our favorite vitamin C supplement
After much trial and error, we found a vitamin C supplement we can happily endorse, EZ Melts Dissolvable Vitamin C. It tastes great and has 500 mgs of Vitamin C.
Find out if you need more vitamin C with Hair Analysis
Wondering if you need additional vitamin C in your life? A great way to find out is through hair analysis, an amazingly informative service now offered at More Than Healthy. With just a few strands of your hair, you receive a full report that looks at toxins, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, electromagnetic frequency exposure, chemicals, radiation, parasites, and immune factors, as well as which foods you should avoid – and it all only takes about 15 minutes!
Your year to become “More Than Healthy”
It’s 2023, and we just know that this is YOUR year. It’s your year to become the very best, healthiest version of you. And More Than Healthy is ready to help you reclaim your health. As always, we enjoy hearing from you. If you have health questions on anything we’ve discussed or really any issue, you can go to our social media pages on Facebook or Instagram (@morethanhealthyliving) and ask it there or private message us. We try to respond to all questions.
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We’d love to become your health coaches as you work to become “More Than Healthy” and achieve your optimal health.
Thanks for joining us. Watch for another helpful health tip from More Than Healthy next week.