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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is consumed in droves by people looking to benefit from its nutritional advantages. It's a nutrient that is essential for our health and well-being. Because we can't store it in our bodies, it's necessary to consume it via food, drinks and nutritional supplements.

Not sure exactly what this nutrient is, why it's important or how you can get it into your diet? Here's the low-down on vitamin C.

Vitamin C Information

Vitamin C, also referred to as ascorbic acid, is a nutrient that is vital for a number of tasks in the human body. It's a water-soluble vitamin - rather than a fat-soluble one - which is why we can't store it in our tissues. Getting enough vitamin C is important for a number of important health problems, as well as boosting your well-being in a number of areas.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. This means that its chemical properties bind with oxygen in the body, reducing the presence of free radicals. This characteristic also holds numerous health benefits.

Vitamin C Benefits

So what are all these benefits, exactly? We're glad you asked.

Vitamin C is probably most well-known for its immune system benefits. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one of the side effects of vitamin C deficiency is an inability to ward off illness and disease.

Due to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C may be effective in staving off cancer. Though studies are still mixed when it comes to which components of vitamin C-rich foods have cancer-fighting properties, vitamin C is a major contender. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that vitamin C may be particularly effective for preventing cervical dysplasia (which can be precancerous), skin cancer and potentially breast cancer.

Though the verdict is still out on whether or not vitamin C has measurable benefits for the common cold, studies do show that supplementation with the nutrient may decrease the duration of the illness by about one day.

Heart disease is another area in which vitamin C could have measurable benefits. While it doesn't appear to have an impact on cholesterol levels or have a measurable impact on the likelihood of heart attacks, it may protect the arteries. This may be due to vitamin C's status as an antioxidant.

Finally, as is the case with other antioxidants, vitamin C can help protect against macular degeneration. Doctors sometimes prescribe high doses of antioxidants for treatment of this common eye problem.

Vitamin C Side Effects

Though vitamin C is a natural component of a healthy diet, you shouldn't take high doses of it without guidance from your doctor. There are a few side effects of vitamin C supplementation.

If you have hemochromatosis - which involves too much iron being built up in the body - you shouldn't take a vitamin C supplement, as this can increase the amount of iron in your body even more. You also shouldn't take a supplement of vitamin C if you have kidney problems, unless you've already cleared it with your doctor.

Pregnant women, people with corn sensitivity and those with diabetes should also talk to their doctor before taking a supplement.

You should also know that vitamin C tends to have a diuretic effect. This means that you should keep your supplement regime balanced by drinking plenty of fluids to replace lost hydration.

Vitamin C-rich foods

One way to get more of this nutrient into your diet is to buy vitamin C online. However, there are also a number of food sources that contain lots of this important vitamin.

Fruits are particularly impressive sources of vitamin C. To boost your levels, eat fruits such as mango, watermelon, papaya, orange, kiwi, blueberries and tomato. A number of vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, capsicum, spinach and potatoes also include high levels of the nutrient.

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