4 Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, a water-soluble nutrient, plays many roles when it comes to supporting overall health. Below, we’ll cover a few of the top vitamin C benefits and give you some ideas on how to take it!
1. Vitamin C is an antioxidant.
One of vitamin C’s most well-known benefits is its ability to help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals.1,2,3 Free radicals are compounds that are produced when the body converts food to energy.1,2 They can also form in response to exposure to radiation or pollutants like tobacco smoke, air pollution and ultraviolet light.1,2 One of the negative effects of free radicals is that they contribute to the body’s aging process. Research shows that free radicals may also be associated with serious health conditions like heart disease, cancer and arthritis.1,2 A benefit of antioxidants like vitamin C is that they help neutralize these free radical molecules.3
Vitamin C isn’t the only antioxidant—vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, beta carotene, lutein and lycopene are also antioxidant substances.4 Antioxidants like vitamin C can be found in foods like fruits and vegetables or in dietary supplements.4
2. Vitamin C helps produce collagen.
Collagen is a protein found in the body that helps make connective tissues.1,5 Without collagen, connective tissues would not be strong, resilient or have the ability to stretch.5 Collagen also helps heal wounds.1 The connective tissues that collagen helps produce are involved in multiple parts of the body, including the immune system, nervous system, bones, cartilage and blood.3 Vitamin C plays an essential role in helping the body produce collagen.1
3. Vitamin C improves iron absorption.
Another benefit of vitamin C is that it helps the body absorb iron from plant-based foods.1,2 Iron is an important mineral for development and growth. Iron is necessary for the body’s production of hemoglobin—which carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body—and myoglobin—which provides our muscles with oxygen.6 The type of iron found in plant-based foods is called non-heme iron, and incorporating foods rich in vitamin C into your meals can help your body absorb it.3 Plant-based food sources of iron include nuts, dried fruits like raisins, kidney beans, peas, lentils, white beans and spinach.6
4. Vitamin C supports the immune system.
Immune support is a well-known benefit of vitamin C—and it’s an important one!1,3 Vitamin C helps support the immune system by stimulating white blood cell activity.3 The immune system is comprised of cells, tissues and organs including skin, mucous membranes and white blood cells.7 Organs that make, carry and store white blood cells are also an important component of the immune system and include the tonsils, spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow.7 The immune system helps the body fight infection and disease.7
How to Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C is water soluble, meaning it dissolves in water and therefore has to be replenished regularly.2 Most excess vitamin C exits the body via urine, rather than getting stored for later.2 To make sure you’re getting adequate levels of vitamin C, you can eat a diet rich in food sources of vitamin C, as well as take a dietary supplement. Foods that are rich in vitamin C include the following:1
- Baked potatoes
- Oranges and orange juice
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice
- Red and green peppers
- Foods fortified with vitamin C
If you’re concerned that you’re not getting an adequate amount of vitamin C through your diet, talk to you doctor about taking a dietary supplement. You can purchase vitamin C supplements on their own or find a combination with other nutrients.1 Many multivitamins include vitamin C in their formulations as well.1
Centrum Products with Vitamin C
Interested in supplementing your diet with vitamin C? Centrum has a number of products formulated with vitamin C so you can get all the health benefits of this important nutrient!
Centrum Organic Men Multigummiesand Centrum Organic Women Multigummies: Multivitamins with essential nutrients—including vitamin C—to help support overall health.*
Centrum Minis Immune Support Women: A complete multivitamin formulated for immune support in women that contains vitamin C, vitamin A, biotin, zinc and more.*
Centrum Minis Immune Support Men: A multivitamin with vitamins A, B12, C, D, and E, and zinc in an easy-to-swallow tablet.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease
- Vitamin C. NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/. Accessed 3/9/2022.
- Vitamin C. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002404.htm. Accessed 3/9/2022.
- Vitamin C. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-c/. Accessed 3/9/2022.
- Antioxidants. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/antioxidants.html. Accessed 3/9/2022.
- Collagen. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/. Accessed 3/9/2022.
- Iron. NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/. Accessed 3/9/2022.
- Immune System and Disorders. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/immunesystemanddisorders.html. Accessed 3/9/2022.