8 Vitamin C Benefits (and Some Common Side Effects)

Vitamin C Health Benefits and Side Effects

Vitamin C is an excellent natural remedy for many different health problems. Vitamin C is commonly suggested for colds, but benefits include joint, muscle problems, and heart issues.

It is also beneficial for skin health and fast wound healing.

Humans do not make their own vitamin C, as many animals do. Nutrient depletion in the soil in which food is grown and poor quality diets make vitamin C deficiency common.

When a body is stressed or sick, the need for vitamin C increases significantly. If you smoke, your vitamin C need will be greater.

While many are aware that severe vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, mild to moderate vitamin C deficiency can cause all sorts of health problems, many of which may just be low-grade scurvy.

This article covers many of the uses of vitamin C, from eye health to wound healing.

Vitamin C Benefits

Eye Health

Vitamin C benefits your eyes, like nearly all other body systems. Small blood vessels called capillaries supply blood to your eyes. Vitamin C is essential for the health of these blood vessels. Vitamin C may lower your risk for cataracts. 1

Bone, Joint, and Muscle Health

Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production. Collagen is in all parts of your body's support system – bones, joints, muscles, etc. Vitamin C can help to reduce arthritis, joint pain, gout, and inflammation.

Respiratory Health

Vitamin C is needed for respiratory health. It supports the immune system and reduces inflammation. Commonly used to prevent the flu and colds, larger doses of vitamin C are also useful for allergies and asthma because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.

Heart Health

Linus Pauling recommended vitamin C to prevent and reverse heart disease (taken along with lysine.) A study also found vitamin C to be effective to prevent atrial fibrillation attacks. 2

Skin Health

Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, part of the support structure in your skin and joints.

Taking Vitamin C internally will help your skin to look younger and repair itself more efficiently. Vitamin C serum can also be used topically to reduce wrinkles, acne scars, and blemishes.

Victims of severe burns are under tremendous stress. Vitamin C is recommended to reduce edema in burn victims.3

Vitamin C will also help the skin heal more quickly, though it will need to be administered via IV under doctor supervision.

Brain and Nervous System Health

"During the neurodegeneration process, a clear link exists between ascorbic acid deficiency and oxidative-induced neuronal death." 

In simpler terms, the brain and nervous system need vitamin C. Deficiencies lead to degeneration in the nervous system, which may be related to several neurologically based conditions, including ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Parkinson's Disease, and Alzheimer's Disease.

Digestive System Health

While vitamin C is not usually the first supplement considered for digestive problems, vitamin C is needed for the digestive tract's tissue to be healthy. Large doses of vitamin C may also help prevent digestive cancers like stomach cancer and colon cancer.

Ulcers, gastritis, and H. Pylori can benefit from vitamin C supplementation and made worse by vitamin C deficiencies. 5

Skin Cancer

Vitamin C has been used by some to treat basal cell carcinoma.1/8 teaspoon of buffered vitamin C is mixed with 1 teaspoon of distilled water and applied to the BCC three times daily until the area heals.

High doses of vitamin C, administered with an IV, can be toxic to some types of cancer cells. 6

While this is not something that can be done at home, an increasing number of alternative practitioners use IV Vitamin C therapy to treat cancer and other serious health problems.

What Kind of Vitamin C Should I Take?

Sodium ascorbate is a simple, inexpensive, and effective form of vitamin C to use. You avoid the fillers and artificial colors and ingredients when you use a pure vitamin C powder. You also have control over the dose. Vitamin C powder is easily dissolved in a little bit of water or juice. It does not taste unpleasant.

How Much Vitamin C Should I Take?

If you are new to taking a vitamin C supplement, start with a small amount, and increase slowly. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and needs to be replenished frequently. However, busy schedules make it difficult to dose very often. One place to start would be 500 mg twice a day. If that suits you, you can increase it to 1,000 mg two to three times a day.

If you are sick or stressed, your vitamin C need will increase.

If you are dealing with a severe illness like whooping cough, you will want to take as much vitamin C as your body can tolerate. You will know your body has reached tolerance if you begin to get loose stools. At that point, cut back the amount you take per dose.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries has developed an effective vitamin C protocol for whooping cough. She recommends 200-375 mg of vitamin C per kg of body weight every 24 hours for children. For a 50 pound child, that would be 4,500 mg to 8,500 mg of vitamin C every 24 hours. Divided into 4 doses, it would be approximately 2-4 grams of vitamin C four times a day. For a 150 adult, that would translate into 6-12 grams of vitamin C four times a day!

The late and renowned Linus Pauling recommended 4-6 grams of vitamin C daily for anyone at risk for heart disease (in addition to 2 grams of lysine.)

You can see that recommended vitamin C amounts for diseases and disease prevention are much higher than you will find in a standard vitamin supplement.

Vitamin C Side Effects

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it is not stored in the body like vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin.

When you give your body more vitamin C than it can use, it will flush out the rest through the bowel.

Too much vitamin C will give you loose stools. Vitamin C can also cause nausea, especially if you take the ascorbic acid form of vitamin C.

Frequently though, vitamin C side effects are not caused by vitamin C but by additives in your vitamin C supplement.

Check the label of the vitamin C that you use. You will find fillers, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners (some of which are excitotoxins.) Headaches, dizziness, digestive upset, and heart palpitations from vitamin C supplementation can be related to the additives in a vitamin C supplement.

If you are taking large doses of vitamin C to fight infection, you will be getting higher amounts of the additives and artificial ingredients and are at higher risk of side effects from them.

To avoid your risk of side effects, the best vitamin C to take is sodium ascorbate powder. This is less acidic than ascorbic acid and has no additional ingredients.

Be careful not to stop vitamin C supplementation cold turkey, or you could get scurvy symptoms.

Has vitamin C improved your health? Please send us some feedback!

Continue reading to learn more about vitamin C supplementation and find out how our readers have used this supplement to improve their health.

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