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If you are wondering if you should take vitamin C, you have probably heard about its many health benefits and important functions in the body. Most famously, vitamin C helps the immune system function properly, but it also plays a role in collagen production and iron absorption, especially from plant-based foods.
Over the years, there has been a lot of conflicting research about vitamin C’s impact on immune health. Although vitamin C is commonly known as a cold remedy, the results of clinical trials are inconsistent. A meta-analysis of clinical research determined that vitamin C supplementation is not likely to prevent colds and the flu, but for some people, may be effective for symptomatic relief. There is also evidence suggesting that a combination of zinc and vitamin C can shorten the duration of colds, if used in specific cases.
Using vitamin C after the onset of symptoms has not been shown to be effective at reducing the length or symptoms of the common cold. However, the National Institute of Health states that regular vitamin C intake of 250 mg/day to 1 g/day can be helpful in people undergoing intense physical exercise or cold environments.
In these specific cases, vitamin C did support the immune system. If either of these conditions applies to you, then supplementing with vitamin C may help you maintain immune health.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, so it’s a great supplement for skin health. This powerful vitamin is impacts the healthy production of collagen, and has also been shown to help the body maintain its natural collagen deposits at optimal levels. Collagen supports skin’s youthful, soft, and elastic appearance. This makes vitamin C a good choice for protecting your skin from the inside out.
Whether you supplement with vitamin C in liquid, tablet, powder, or capsule form, the FDA does not recommend exceeding an intake of 2,000 mg (2 g) per day (unless advised by a doctor). Remember, that this total represents all sources of vitamin C, including both food and supplements.
Taking too much vitamin C can lead to painful stomach symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. However, if you stay below 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day, you should not expect to encounter issues.
It is best to get most of your nutrition from the foods you eat — a healthy diet and lifestyle is better for you than any supplement. The USDA recommends three to five daily servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit, which are loaded with vitamin C. High amounts of vitamin C are available in citrus fruits, dark leafy greens and berries.
If fresh fruits and veggies aren’t showing up quite that often in your diet, a vitamin C supplement can help fill in the gaps. Set yourself up for wellness by supplementing with vitamins and supplements that are scientifically proven.
Consult with your healthcare provider, or take an online lifestyle assessment to receive personalized supplement advice tailored to your unique needs.