Make no mistake: Vitamin C is an absolute saviour where your health is concerned. It’s essential to tissue growth and repair in all parts of your body, and it’s fundamental to the synthesis of collagen — thus helping to preserve the firmness and youthful appearance of your skin. On top of that, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which means it minimises cell damage in the body and strengthens the immune system.
Here’s our 5-minute crash course on the health benefits of vitamin C — based on real science, extensive research and diligent trialling.
1. Vitamin C Strengthens Your Immunity
Vitamin C is famous for its preventive health benefits. First, it promotes the production of lymphocytes and phagocytes, which are the white blood cells that protect us against infection. 1 Scientists report that ascorbic acid (a.k.a. vitamin C) is required for the development and proliferation of T lymphocytes — or T cells — thus helping to support a healthy immune system. 2
Second, vitamin C protects against oxidative stress by fighting free radical damage in the body. 3, 4 Free radicals are molecules with an uneven number of electrons; this uneven number is what allows them to easily react with other molecules in your body, which in turn can cause large-chain chemical reactions known as ‘oxidation’. 5, 6, 7
Free radical damage can adversely alter proteins, lipids and DNA, and they also have the potential to trigger a number of diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can ‘donate’ electrons to free radicals to neutralise them and make them less reactive, thus preventing oxidative stress — as well as all the negative effects that oxidative stress can cause. 8, 9
Scientists also report that vitamin C deficiency can often impair your immune function and increase your susceptibility to infection. 10, 11, 12
Lastly, vitamin C can shorten wound healing time by promoting collagen synthesis and scar formation. 13, 14
2. Vitamin C Can Help to Manage High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects 1 in 4 people in the UK. 15 Also known as the ‘silent killer’, high blood pressure often goes undiagnosed. Figures released by Public Health England suggest that, for every 10 people who are diagnosed with high blood pressure, a further 7 people remain undiagnosed and untreated. 16
Research has shown that vitamin C can lower blood pressure in both those with and those without high blood pressure. 17 One study found that supplementing with vitamin C helped to ‘relax’ the blood vessels by promoting sodium and water elimination from the body, which in turn lowered blood pressure. 18
Similarly, results from 29 randomised controlled trials showed that vitamin C supplementation reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7 mmHg on average. 19
3. Vitamin C Can Protect Your Eyesight
Vitamin C has been shown to slow the progression of age-related vision loss. Specifically, vitamin C supplementation is linked to a lower incidence of cataracts. In one study, women taking vitamin C supplements for 10 years or more experienced a 64% reduction in the risk of developing nuclear cataracts. 20 A 2014 review from Tufts University also concluded that supplementing with at least 135mg of vitamin C can prevent certain types of cataracts, while a daily dose of 363mg could reduce your risk of developing cataracts by 57%. 21
A growing body of research supports the beneficial effects of vitamin C for eye health. A 2001 study reported that people at high risk of age-related macular degeneration experienced a 25% slower progression of the disease. 22 The loss of visual acuity was also 15% lower.
4. Vitamin C Can Slow Age-Related Mental Decline
We won’t beat around the bush: aging is a normal — and completely unavoidable — part of life. As many as 35 million people worldwide experience a decline in their cognitive functions, such as memory and thinking, as they age. 23 While the causes of age-related mental decline aren’t well understood, scientists believe that oxidative stress and inflammation near the central nervous system are two contributing factors. 24
Let’s not forget that vitamin C is an antioxidant — in other words, it fights oxidative stress. Research suggests that vitamin C deficiency can impair your ability to think and remember over time. 25, 26 What’s more, people with dementia appear to have lower blood levels of vitamin C. 27, 28
In light of these facts, it’s probably not very surprising that a higher intake of vitamin C could slow down age-related mental decline and protect your thinking and memory. 29, 30, 31
5. Vitamin C Can Prevent Iron Deficiency
We all know that iron is critical to good health and that it plays an important role in numerous bodily functions — from making red blood cells to transporting oxygen throughout the body. But what if you’re on a meat-free diet and all your iron comes from plant-based sources? Your body might have difficulties absorbing it simply because the iron from plant-based sources is poorly absorbed compared to the iron from meat-based sources.
Here’s where vitamin C comes in: it improves the absorption of iron. 32 Even small intakes of 100mg per day can boost iron absorption in the body by up to 67%. 33 Added to which, vitamin C could counteract the effects of dietary phytates and tannins, which can decrease iron absorption by 50%. 34
In children with mild iron deficiency anaemia, oral vitamin C supplementation was found to improve symptoms and improve iron status. 35
6. Vitamin C Can Support Skin Health
Instead of investing in more skincare products to keep your skin supple and glowy, why not try supplementing with vitamin C instead? Vitamin C is exceptionally effective in fighting oxidative stress, which can be triggered both by photodamage and the natural aging process itself and which can cause changes to the skin structure. 36
An adequate daily intake of vitamin C can combat both photodamage and oxidative stress. Remember what we’ve said earlier about vitamin C and collagen synthesis? Researchers found that vitamin C supplementation can help to stabilise collagen mRNA (short for messenger RNA), which in turn increases collagen synthesis and promotes skin healing. 37
Vitamin C also stimulates the proliferation rate of fibroblasts — the cells responsible for producing collagen — which can decrease with age. 38 Studies report a notable improvement in skin wrinkling in people supplementing with higher doses of Vit C. 39, 40
Adding a vitamin C supplement to your routine has the potential to make your skin happy in the long term. Just make sure you take your daily dose to ensure you’re getting all the vitamin C that your skin needs.
7. Vitamin C Can Improve Your Mood
Would you be surprised if we told you that taking a vitamin C supplement could reduce your stress levels and improve your mental health? Several studies show that vitamin C supplementation can improve your mood and prevent depressive episodes. 41, 42
Vitamin C is involved in the conversion of the neurotransmitter dopamine to norepinephrine, which is an important hormone in depression and mood swings. 43 Scientists observe that low blood levels of vitamin C can lead to depressive symptoms. 44
Lastly, vit C has the ability to boost the effectiveness of antidepressant medication. 45 One study found that people taking both fluoxetine and Vitamin C experienced an improvement in depressive symptoms compared to those taking fluoxetine plus placebo. 46
The only vitamin C supplement you’ll ever need is here.
At Dr Corbyn, we’ve proudly formulated our one-a-day vitamin C tablets with naturally occurring citrus flavonoids and rosehip extract to maximise nutrient absorption and optimise the beneficial effects of Vit C. Every serving delivers a potent dose of antioxidants to boost your immunity and protect against free radical damage.