If you know anything about vitamin C and what it does for your body, it’s that this essential vitamin is crucial for your immune system. And you likely also know that it prevents scurvy — an awful condition involving chronic fatigue, aching joints and muscles, deteriorating gums, and poor skin health.
Scurvy today is rare, but it’s still out there. In the United States, the CDC collected vitamin C levels through the years 2003 and 2004, finding that 6 – 8% of the population had scurvy-level deficiencies. 
That’s way too many people having an easily preventable problem!
The same report also found that vitamin C levels were one-third lower in adult smokers — likely due to how cigarettes affect vitamin C absorption.
Though the risk of scurvy is low, it does show that the body can more or less fall apart without vitamin C. While scurvy can take up to 3 months of severely low vitamin C levels to take hold, it can still have other impacts on the body early on.
Today, we decided to share 3 lesser-known — but very important — benefits that vitamin C has to offer!
Check out just how powerful this vitamin can be:
When it comes to the health of the heart, there are many factors to consider. And you may be surprised to know that vitamin C can help with quite a few of them! It’s been involved in many heart studies to measure just how much it can do — and it rarely fails to impress.
An analysis of 9 studies involving nearly 300,000 people found that after 10 years, those who took at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of developing certain heart issues than those who did not take a vitamin C supplement. 
If you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood, this could also impact your heart’s health.
Another analysis of 13 studies looked at the effects of taking at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily on blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It found that taking a vitamin C supplement significantly reduced LDL cholesterol by approximately 7.9 mg/dL and blood triglycerides by 20.1 mg/d. 
On top of that, one study found that vitamin C can take unnecessary stress off of the heart, and animal studies have shown that vitamin C can relax the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart. [4-5]
Iron has several functions in the body, including playing a role in immunity and metabolism. Most importantly, it supports blood production, contributing to the carrying of oxygen from the lungs to the tissue. In fact, about 70% of the body’s iron is found in the red blood cells called hemoglobin. When short of iron, your body may not be able to deliver oxygen to where it needs to go in the body, leaving you feeling weak, tired, and short of breath. 
Another lesser-known benefit of vitamin C is that it helps with the absorption of iron. Some forms of iron — such as plant-based forms of iron — can be more difficult for your body to absorb than others. Vitamin C can help convert this iron into a more absorbable form.
In fact, one study demonstrated that simply taking 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67%! 
Another study provided vitamin C supplements to 65 children with mild iron deficiencies. Researchers found that the supplement alone helped control their deficiency. This suggests that they were getting enough iron — it just wasn’t getting absorbed. 
Memory And Brain Health
Ever have a word just on the tip of your tongue? Having difficulty remembering can become a more frequent occurrence as we age. But vitamin C may be able to help.
Low levels of vitamin C have been linked to an impaired ability to think and remember. [9-10]
And those struggling with cognition have been shown to have lower levels of vitamin C in their blood. [11-12]
On top of that, other studies have shown that those with higher vitamin C levels may have better cognition than those with lower vitamin C levels. [13-15]
Some of these studies show a correlation, which doesn’t necessarily mean causation. However, the fact that there are so many studies certainly does suggest that having good vitamin C levels may be good for the health of your brain!
Do You Get Enough?
It’s true that vitamin C is present in many fruits and vegetables. But are you getting enough through these? Are they getting absorbed properly?
Maybe, but maybe not.
References And Resources
- Serum vitamin C and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in the United States: 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)