One of the nutrients that you're most likely to hear about as being important for your overall health is vitamin C. Vitamin C has a number of important functions in the body. While it's perhaps best known for supporting the immune system, which helps in turn to prevent you from getting sick and suffering from various diseases, there are a lot of other things that vitamin C can be helpful for as well. Read on for a brief overview of this nutrient and why it is so important for your overall health.
Vitamin C is a crucial component of the production of collagen, which is in turn necessary to produce and maintain a number of different types of cells. These include skin cells, capillaries, blood vessels and much more. Therefore, having sufficient vitamin C in your system will help you to be sure that you have an adequate support system in place to maintain these structures. Having an insufficiency of vitamin C can lead to a condition called scurvy, which is caused by these systems and cells becoming weaker and thus not being able to adequately perform their necessary functions any longer.
Protection of the Heart
Sufficient vitamin C is proven to contribute to an overall lowering of LDL cholesterol. Of the two types of cholesterol, LDL is the so-called "bad" type and should be minimized as much as possible. By keeping this cholesterol level down, your body will protect itself against certain types of cardiovascular conditions and troubles. Namely, you'll be less likely to develop strokes, blood clots, and heart attacks later in life.
Vitamin C is also essential as an antioxidant. Free oxygen particles can become loose and float through your bloodstream following certain types of chemical reactions that occur naturally in your body. When this happens, those free radical ions can then react with certain types of cells, oftentimes leading to the damage or even total destruction of those cells. While this doesn't cause a major concern over the short term, repeated damage to these cells can add to an overall increase in likelihood of developing conditions like cancer later on.
Immune System Benefits
The most commonly referred to benefit of vitamin C is the fact that it helps to boost your immune system. The antibodies that your body produces to help stave off certain diseases and infections require vitamin C in order to have stability. Without sufficient vitamin C, your body will not be able to produce these protective cells in adequate numbers, and you may fall victim to diseases that you wouldn't have otherwise been subjected to.
Vitamin C is plentiful in many different types of foods. It is prevalent in citrus and other types of fruits, and it's also available in supplements and other forms as well. Because it's water soluble, it's not possible to ingest too much vitamin C, so it's a good idea to take in as much as you can through normal eating habits.