Vitamin C Day - Vitamin C and Me
What is it?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a nutrient that can dissolve in water and is also found in many foods. It acts as an antioxidant, which means it helps prevent oxidation, a reaction that can damage cells in the body which is caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. They are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules.
While some free radicals are necessary, they are also linked with aging and a wide range of diseases. They can be found everywhere from the food we eat, to the water we drink and even in the air we breathe. To combat the negative impact of free radicals on the body we consume antioxidants like Vitamin C and avoid things like smoking, sun radiation, pollution, processed foods, and fats and oils.
Vitamin C is not only an important antioxidant, but the body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal. In addition, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.
Fun Fact: Many people believe that taking a Vitamin C booster will prevent you from getting a cold or reduce the duration of a cold. However, the Mayo Clinic reports that, “Taking oral vitamin C supplements won't prevent the common cold. Evidence also shows that the benefits of regularly taking vitamin C supplements to reduce the duration or severity of a cold are minimal.”
Vitamin C and Type 2
The National Institutes of Health recommend that people have different amounts of Vitamin C each day based on your age and certain things like if you are breastfeeding or if you are a smoker there are different recommended values. However, for an adult male 90 mg of vitamin C each day (75mg for women) is the recommended amount.
While Vitamin C is largely known to be found in citrus fruits, you can also get your C from other fresh fruit and vegetables like bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and cabbage! Most people get enough Vitamin C from their regular daily diet, but new research found additional benefits for Vitamin C supplements for type 2’s!
One small study led by researchers from Deakin University found that people with type 2 diabetes who took a 500mg vitamin C supplement twice a day for 4 months had lower post-meal blood sugar levels, compared with those taking a placebo for the same length of time. It also lowered the rise in blood sugar levels throughout the day, and also found that the proportion of people with hypertension halved after taking the vitamin C capsules, with both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels dropping significantly. This is exciting research because Vitamin C has many scientifically proven benefits to everyday health, and can be bought over the counter for relatively cheap.
Scientists still have more research to do on using Vitamin C as a supplement to help treat type 2 diabetes. However, we know that Vitamin C is a healthy and necessary part of everyone’s daily diet and the current research is very promising in showing the potential positive effects of taking Vitamin C supplements for those of us with type 2.
As with all of our healthy habits, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. In order to avoid these symptoms, adults shouldn’t exceed a daily limit of 2,000mg per day. People who have had an allergic reaction to vitamin C or ascorbic acid in the past should not take vitamin C supplements. Consult your doctor. If you have had kidney disease or kidney stones, liver disease, or enzyme deficiencies, you should consult your doctor first before beginning to take any vitamin C supplements.
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