It is therefore important to prepare our immune system, which is responsible for protecting our body against external pathogens. It is crucial, therefore, to learn how to protect it by providing it with the necessary nutrients to maintain its good condition.
Apart from its important role in the immune system, vitamin C is essential in many cellular processes in the body due to its antioxidant action. It is important in the process of collagen biosynthesis in the skin, bones, cartilage and blood vessels.
In addition, according to the EFSA, imbalance in vitamin C levels includes weakness and fatigue, very common during seasonal changes.
The role of vitamin C in the immune system
The cells of the immune system are vulnerable to oxidative stress and damage to their capacity to respond to these invasive microorganisms. This is why vitamin C plays an important role in the immune system function, helping to protect cells from oxidative damage.
According to the Spanish Society of Immunology, vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients that we must take within a proper diet, as it helps definitively to maintain normal defences. Elderly people, individuals who are exposed to chemicals, or people practising intense exercise, generally need to take care of their diet and perhaps increase their intake of dietary vitamin C, as these situations sometimes require greater antioxidative capacity for the proper functioning of the defences.
The benefits of vitamin C for the body
In addition to the contribution to the normal function of the immune system, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and as an essential factor in many enzymatic reactions such as the biosynthesis of collagen in the skin, bones, cartilage and blood vessels. Therefore, it is essential for the proper functioning of a wide variety of cellular processes. Its role in the functioning of the energy metabolism and in the absorption of iron it is very important.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and is well known for its antioxidant properties, against damage related to photo-ageing and UV rays. It neutralises free radicals and protects cells against oxidative stress, so it is involved in reducing the signs of ageing on the skin.
Ascorbic acid is the most abundant antioxidant in human body tissues, especially in the skin, but it is an unstable acid that may be easily oxidised by light, oxygen or high temperatures.
How and when to take vitamin C?
Different ways to find vitamin C
The easiest way to provide it to the body is through food. The intake of vitamin C in our diet can be complemented with food supplements that can be taken in capsule or liquid forms. It is very common to find cosmetics with vitamin C in different formats such as creams or serums, whose special formulations improve its absorption through the skin, since it is a very unstable vitamin and oxidises easily.
According to the EFSA, the minimum recommended amount of vitamin C in adult men is 90 mg per day, while in women it is 80 mg. As the body does not easily store it, it has to be taken through the diet, on a daily basis.
Foods containing vitamin C
The foods that are the richest in this vitamin are: citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit as well as kiwi. Red and green pepper and other vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, strawberries, melon and tomatoes also contain this nutrient. It is very important to have a varied diet to provide the body with the nutrients it needs for a proper functioning.
Is it possible to have an excess of vitamin C?
It is unlikely that an excessive intake of vitamin C is harmful. As indicated by the Spanish Food Safety Agency, food supplements should be taken at the recommended daily doses as per product label, and cannot replace a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients.
It is recommended to check with a healthcare professional to learn more about your specific body needs.