Vitamin C is one of the most generally supplemented nutrients. Although it is likely best known for its significance to immunity, researches and studies done on vitamin C has figured out its diverse other operations within the human body.

In the 1920s, Vitamin C was initially identified by the expected Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi from Szeged University in Hungary, who clarified the role of this essential vitamin for the prevention and treatment of scurvy resulting from vitamin C deficiency.

Before its discovery, around 55% of sailors developed scurvy, a condition now recognized as associated with Vitamin C deficiency. It was noted that scurvy could be rectified by the consumption of citrus fruits, especially limes, during sea voyages and so lime or lemon juice became a part of sailor’s daily rations.

Vitamin C is water soluble, which is a significant factor in its function. It is also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate. “Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of Vitamin Cmay be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health,” says study researcher Mark Moyad, MPH, MD, of the University of Michigan. “The more we study Vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health, and immunity to living longer”. “But”, Moyad notes, “the ideal dosage may be higher than the dietary allowance.” 

How Much Vitamin C is Enough?

Most of the researches Moyad and his colleagues examined used 500 daily milligrams of Vitamin C to attain health results. That is much sublime than the RDA of 75-90 mgs a day for adults.So unless you can consume plenty of vegetables and fruits, you may need to take a dietary supplement of Vitamin C to gain all the benefits, Moyad says. He suggests taking 500 mgs a day, in addition to eating five servings of fruits and vegetables.

While a cup of orange juice would be enough to meet your RDA for Vitamin C, here are all the beverages and foods you would need to consume to reach 500 milligrams:

  • Orange juice, 1 cup (97 mg)
  • Tomato juice, 1 cup (45 mg)
  • Cantaloupe, 1 cup (59 mg)
  • Red cabbage (40 mg)
  • Cooked broccoli (74 mg)
  • Red pepper (95 mg)
  • Green pepper (60 mg)
  • 1 medium Kiwi (70 mg)

Proven Health Benefits of Vitamin C


Deficiency in Vitamin C is linked with various stress related disorders.Because Vitamin C is one of the nutrients sensitive to stress, researchers say maintaining levels of Vitamin C can be an ideal marker for overall health. Several studies showed that Vitamin C supplementation produces antidepressant effect and improves mood.



Several researches show that Vitamin C may help prevent serious complications of flu and colds. “There is good evidence taking Vitamin C for colds and flu can reduce the risk of developing more complications, such as pneumonia and lung infections”, says Moyad. Researchers found that when consumed daily, Vitamin C slightly shortened cold duration – by 8-10% in adults and by 14-20% in children.


A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with the highest amounts of Vitamin C in their blood were linked with 45% lower stroke risk than those with lower amounts. It is clear that people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables have higher blood levels of Vitamin C.

“People who consume more fruit and vegetables will not only have higher blood levels of Vitamin C, but higher intake of other nutrients potentially beneficial to health, such as fiber and other vitamins and minerals”, study examiner Phyo K. Myint said in an online interview.

Skin Aging

Vitamin C affects cells on the outside and inside of the body and its antioxidant attributes can be very beneficial when it comes to skin aging. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined connections between nutrient intakes and skin aging in 4025 women aged 40-75. It found that higher Vitamin C intakes were linked with a lower possibility of a wrinkled appearance, dryness of the skin, and a better skin-aging appearance. In addition, temporary treatments with Vitamin C have been shown in some studies to reduce wrinkles.

Immune Support

Vitamin C has diverse effects on the immune system and has been proven to be supportive for a number of different immune cells. Leukocytes including lymphocytes can effectively accumulate Vitamin C against a concentration gradient showing the significance of Vitamin C in these cells. Vitamin C has developmental as well as functional effects on immune cells. In fact, Vitamin C has a major role in both adaptive and natural immune responses.


Not only does Vitamin C protect from pathogens by assisting immune function but it also acts directly as an antimicrobial. It is known that various bacteria can incite Vitamin C, whereas the existence of this vitamin exposes other species to oxidative stress, which may result in bacterial growth prohibition. The strong antimicrobial properties of Vitamin C are mostly due to its low ph.

Wound Healing

Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen and is present in muscle, skin, and other tissues. People with a low consumption of Vitamin C may experience slower wound healing, as their bodies will be less able to produce collagen. During times of recovery, healthcare professionals may suggest supplements for people with low Vitamin C blood levels.

Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin C may favor cardiovascular health for various reasons. Studies and researches have suggested that it may:

  • Have antioxidant attributes,
  • Help widen the blood vessels,
  • Improve nitric oxide production.

This could help protect against hypertension and heart disease, or even high blood pressure.


A study conducted in 2019 looked at 31 people aged around 60 years to check whether or not taking Vitamin C supplements made a difference to their glucose levels after consuming food. After taking supplements or 4 months, the participants’ blood pressure and glucose levels improved significantly. This suggests that Vitamin C could definitely be a medication for diabetes.

Vitamin C and Cancer Therapy

Vitamin C may also help treat cancer.

As an antioxidant, Vitamin C protects the body from oxidative stress, which can happen when ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) levels are high. Oxidative stress may play a role in some cancers by leading to cell damage.

A 2015 research found that taking high doses of Vitamin C may slow the growth of some kinds of cancerous tissue. The study suggested that Vitamin C has the potential of becoming a new medication for colorectal cancer one day. Also the authors of a 2013 review suggested that Vitamin C might work well alongside other treatments to favor people with cancer.

The National Cancer Institute note that some substitute therapists already use intravenous Vitamin C when treating fatigue, infections, and cancer.

Who is at Risk of Deficiency?

Those at risk of Vitamin C include:

  • People who smoke or have exposure to secondhand smoke,
  • Infants who consume only boiled milk,
  • People who do not consume a varied diet.

Final Thoughts

It is safe to say that Vitamin C is an ingredient that is necessary in our daily life, both for the internal as well as the external body. It is an antioxidant that has many health benefits.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of Vitamin C. Otherwise supplements are also available, but it is always recommended to check with a healthcare professional first to make sure they are safe to use.