Why Is Vitamin C The Wonder Vitamin?
Vitamin C, or Ascorbic acid, has been the subject of much conversation in the healthcare and beauty industries and is often touted as a “wonder” vitamin. Of the 13 essential vitamins that the human body needs (because it cannot manufacture them), Vitamin C has gotten more than its share of attention. How did a water-soluble micro-nutrient present in citrus fruits and other foods come to be found in our beauty products?
Vitamin C and your health
Citrus fruits were found to cure scurvy in sailors long before they understood why. Basically, Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is found in everything from skin and bones to nails, hair and tendons. Without Vitamin C, sailors developed weakness, gum disease and skin ailments. Vitamin C was also studied for its possible benefits in treating infection. Some studies show that large doses of Vitamin C can shorten the severity and duration of the common cold. It has been found in high concentrations in certain immune cells, which need the vitamin in order to function properly. For this reason alone, many find Vitamin C supplementation an essential part of their daily diet. While supplements many have their place in cases of deficiency, they have been found to be less useful in normal, healthy individuals. Being water soluble, excess Vitamin C is excreted in our urine. Too much of the vitamin can, in fact, lead to kidney stones. Exercise caution and take it only when your body is under stress or in the case of a deficiency. Your physician can provide guidance on the proper dose to take in these cases.
Vitamin C and Your Skin
Perhaps the most interesting uses for Vitamin C have been in the beauty industry. As a potent antioxidant, the benefits of Vitamin C cannot be overstated. It is a potent free-radical scavenger that can help to treat damage from excessive sun exposure, which can make you look older. This makes it a desirable ingredient in skincare products. However, pure Ascorbic acid is unstable and oxidizes quickly, so it’s important to look for products that use stabilized or alternative forms of Vitamin C. For example, while L-Ascorbic acid is the purest form of Vitamin C, it is highly unstable (e.g. sensitive to light, heat and air) and requires a very low pH to work, making it more irritating than other forms of Vitamin C. This is often experienced as a “tingling” feeling.
Some forms of Vitamin C have been formulated in the lab to make them more stable and more effective at lower concentrations than L-Ascorbic acid. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, for example (found in our Age-Defying Vitamin C Face Creme ), is water-soluble, more stable and gentler than L-Ascorbic acid. This is helpful for people with sensitive skin. When combined with other ingredients like Vitamin E and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Vitamin C can impart real benefits to skin ravaged by sun damage and environmental stressors. Combined with a diet consisting of whole foods rich in Vitamin C, your body will have what it needs to maintain healthy cell function and collagen formation. We truly believe it to be a “wonder” vitamin! So try a few products out for yourself and see if you don’t agree.
(Disclaimer: We are not health professionals. The views expressed here are our own and do not constitute medical advice. Please see a physician if you have questions regarding Vitamin C deficiency or any medical condition.)
Healthline.com article about Vitamin C
National Institutes of Health article on Vitamin C deficiency
National Institutes of Health article on Vitamin C and immune function