This time of year we tend to increase our intake of Vitamin C because we've always been told that it can boost our immune system and ward off a cold. However, we'd be better off if we added more Vitamin C to our diets year round. Two reasons: One - It can help us live a longer, healthier life and Two -It can help us look better as we age.
First let's look at the health benefits:
Vitamin C is a powerful immune-boosting antioxidant that is absolutely vital to our good health, but our bodies cannot store it so it needs to come from our daily diet or from supplements. Vitamin C fights carcinogenic free radicals, protects DNA from being damaged and can prevent hardening of the arteries. It can also promote healing of all body cells, help detoxify our bodies, keep our gums healthy, combat stress, act as an anti-depressant and surprisingly, so much more! Nobel prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling, said we could add 12-18 years to our lives if we took 3-12 grams (3,000 - 12,000 milligrams) of Vitamin C daily. He himself claimed to have lived an extra 20 years because of all the Vitamin C he took everyday.
Now let's look at it's beauty properties:
Vitamin C helps to produce natural collagen, which helps the skin to retain elasticity, and keeps our skin radiant and youthful. As we age, the collagen in our skin breaks down causing wrinkles and sagging. While there are many factors other than age that can cause our skin to wrinkle and sag (like too much sugar, alcohol or smoking), the good news is Vitamin C can actually reverse some of these signs of aging. Some studies suggest that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C have less wrinkles (because of its collagen building properties) and less age-related dry skin compared to those whose diets contain small amounts of Vitamin C. Other studies say ingesting large amounts of Vitamin C does little to get rid of your wrinkles and that it's best to look for a skin treatment that includes Vitamin C.
Since the jury is still out, I'm doing both by exceeding the Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin C (a mere 70-90 milligrams a day) by taking the suggested daily recommendation for longevity and optimal health which is 1,000 - 3,000 milligrams. I also use cleansing and moisturizing products with Vitamin C. For a while now I've been using (and loving) Avalon Organics' Vitamin C line which is affordable and available at Target, and has a wonderful orange scent to it.
The best way to get your Vitamin C is through your food; raw red peppers, orange juice, kiwifruit, broccoli - are all excellent sources of Vitamin C but to get to 3,000 mg, you'd be eating more red peppers and broccoli than humanly possible in a 24 hour period. To ensure that I'm getting the amount I want, I take an Emergen-C packet daily which has 1,000 milligrams of Vitamin C plus a lot of great B-complex vitamins in it to boot. I also take two 1,000 milligram Vitamin C tablets a day. This way when a new study comes out that confirms you really can get rid of wrinkles with large amounts of Vitamin C, I'll be ahead of the game...and who knows, with copious amounts of Vitamin C, I could still be around then.
"The Greatest Wealth is Health" - Roman Poet Virgil