Best Vitamin C Supplement For Skin

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“Vitamin C is a key component to many skin-brightening regimens, as it interferes with pigment production and keeps inflammation at bay,” he says. Furthermore, he says it may even help protect the skin from pre-cancerous changes from UV light exposure by neutralizing free radicals.

Unfortunately, very little vitamin C ever makes it to the skin on its own, says board-certified dermatologist Laurel Naversen Geraghty, M.D., which is why it’s so important to topically apply products made with the skin-care ingredient.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a nutrient your body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is also vital to your body’s healing process.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation from the sun, X-rays or other sources. Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb and store iron.

Because your body doesn’t produce vitamin C, you need to get it from your diet. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach. Vitamin C is also available as an oral supplement, typically in the form of capsules and chewable tablets.

Most people get enough vitamin C from a healthy diet. Vitamin C deficiency is more likely in people who:

  • Smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoking
  • Have certain gastrointestinal conditions or certain types of cancer
  • Have a limited diet that doesn’t regularly include fruits and vegetables

Severe vitamin C deficiency can lead to a disease called scurvy, which causes anemia, bleeding gums, bruising and poor wound healing.

If you take vitamin C for its antioxidant properties, keep in mind that the supplement might not offer the same benefits as naturally occurring antioxidants in food.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 90 milligrams for adult men and 75 milligrams for adult women.

here are different forms of vitamin C –

Ascorbic acid – The purest form of vitamin C.

Sodium ascorbate – 1000 mg of this vitamin contains 111 mg of sodium.

Calcium ascorbate – 1000 mg of this vitamin contains 90 to 110 mg of calcium.

Magnesium ascorbate – Daily intake of magnesium must not exceed 350 mg.

Potassium ascorbate – Daily intake of potassium must not exceed 11 grams.

Manganese ascorbate – Daily intake of manganese must not exceed 11 mg.

Zinc ascorbate – Daily intake of zinc must not exceed 40 mg.

Molybdenum ascorbate – Daily intake of molybdenum must not exceed 2 grams.

Chromium ascorbate – The maximum daily intake of chromium has not been established. But the RDA is between 50 and 200 mcg for adults and teenagers

Except for sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate, the other forms of vitamin C are more likely to be found in combination with other mineral ascorbates or other minerals.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Vitamin C?

1. Improves Heart Health

As per one American study, vitamin C might play a role in reducing heart disease risk. Multiple cohort studies have demonstrated that higher plasma levels of vitamin C could be linked to reduced heart disease risk (1)More studies state that vitamin C could be as good as exercise for your heart. A regular dose of vitamin C can hinder the activity of a protein named endothelin-1, which leads to the constriction of small blood vessels – and this eventually causes heart attack (2). The vitamin can also lower your blood pressure and keep your arteries flexible.

Vitamin C was also found to help the arteries dilate under stress – this improves blood flow, and hence, its oxygen carrying ability as well. Another Indian study states that fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C can prevent heart disease. The study says that a vitamin C-rich vegetarian diet can reduce blood cholesterol by 1%, which reduces the risk of heart attack by 2%.

Vitamin C supplementation was also found to lower serum cholesterol levels, and this could help avert coronary heart disease.

2. Regulates Blood Pressure Levels

As per a report by Johns Hopkins Medicine, large doses of vitamin C can lower blood pressure. This function of vitamin C could be attributed to its physiological and biological effects. Vitamin C acts as a diuretic and causes the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from the body – this relieves the pressure on blood vessel walls.

Vitamin C also protects your body’s supply of nitric oxide, a molecule known to relax the blood vessels. The blood pressure lowering effect can be attributed to supplements as well – consuming vitamin C supplements in a dose of 500 mg in a day could reduce systolic blood pressure by 4 points and diastolic blood pressure by 1.5 points – in a period of 2 months.

3. Boosts Immunity

A deficiency of vitamin C reduces the body’s resistance against certain pathogens. As per a study, vitamin C stimulates the immune system by enhancing the strength and protection of the organism.

And coming to common cold, though more research is required, vitamin C has been found to reduce the duration of the cold. We don’t know yet if the vitamin can protect against a cold – but it sure does reduce how long the cold lasts. Vitamin C might also be a potential treatment for asthma. However, more research is required in this aspect.

4. Helps Prevent Cancer

Numerous laboratory studies have shown that high doses of vitamin C can slow down the growth of prostate, liver, colon, and other types of cancer cells. Higher concentrations of vitamin C might also help in cancer treatment.

The intravenous administration of a type of vitamin C to inoperable patients with cancer resulted in a significant reduction in tumor volume without any side effects. Ascorbate also killed cancer cells, as noted in numerous studies. Another report by Cornell University had stated that vitamin C halts aggressive colorectal cancer.

5. Aids In The Treatment Of Osteoarthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, vitamin C can help prevent some forms of arthritis. But too much of it might worsen some other forms of the condition – which is why finding a balance is key. Getting the right dose of vitamin C helps prevent inflammatory arthritis and maintains healthy joints with osteoarthritis.

Research also states that people with the lowest levels of vitamin C would be three times more likely to develop inflammatory arthritis. But as we already discussed, taking note of the dosage is important. Dietary intake of vitamin C exceeding the RDA recommendation (90 milligrams per day for men and 75 milligrams per day for women) might worsen arthritis symptoms.

6. Enhances Eye Health

Evidence also suggests that vitamin C intake can lower the risk of cataracts. The vitamin, when taken with other essential nutrients, can prevent age related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss. In fact, people with a high intake of vitamin C have 20% lower risk of cataracts. It also fights oxidative stress by preventing the free radicals from causing molecular damage to the lens tissue in the eye. Vitamin C could also extend the proper functioning of your retinal cells as per studies. This vitamin also supports the health of the blood vessels in your eyes.

Vitamin C might also aid in the regeneration of vitamin E in the eye, which further enhances eye health. Regular intake of vitamin C can also aid in the treatment of uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, also called uvea).

7. Treats Preeclampsia

According to an American study, vitamin C might help treat preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). However, further studies are warranted. Even oxidative stress could be responsible for preeclampsia. And since vitamin C helps combat oxidative stress, it can also help prevent this condition.

Vitamin C might also help terminate an unplanned pregnancy (abortion). Certain sources suggest that the vitamin can induce heat in the uterus and achieve this. But there is limited research on this.

8. Maintains Healthy Gums

Deficiency of vitamin C can also cause periodontal disease, a severe form of gingivitis (gum disease). This is because low levels of vitamin C can weaken the connective tissue and easily break down the capillaries. In fact, one early sign of vitamin C deficiency is bleeding gums. And the vitamin is responsible for the health of teeth and gums.

9. Helps Treat Allergies

It is important to know that allergies are caused when your body releases histamine, a biochemical. Vitamin C intake reduces the release of histamine, thereby preventing allergies.

As per another Japanese study, autoimmune disease and the related allergies can also be controlled by vitamin C. Vitamin C was also found to aid in the treatment of hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis).

10. Alleviates Dry Mouth

Certain sources suggest that vitamin C helps prevent and even treat dry mouth. However, there is limited evidence in this aspect.

11. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar

Regular intake of supplementary vitamin C (1000 mg) was shown to regulate blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Vitamin C can also prevent diabetes-related damage to your blood vessels.

Another Japanese study states that diabetes can be controlled by vitamin C treatment. The vitamin was found to stimulate insulin mechanism, thereby aiding in the treatment.

Vitamin C was also found to reduce fasting blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes. So was the case with postmeal blood glucose.

12. Treats Viral Infections

According to a study, high dose intravenous vitamin C can be effective in treating allergies. In the past, such doses were used to treat infections like measles, herpes, mumps, and viral pneumonia. This shows the efficacy of vitamin C as an antibiotic. Also, since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it combats the harmful free radicals and helps treat viral infections.

A high dose of vitamin C was also found to aid in the treatment of mononucleosis (an abnormally high proportion of white blood cells that causes glandular fever). It also fights the free radicals (as already discussed) that might lead to mononucleosis.

13. Prevents Scurvy

Though rare in today’s world, scurvy can affect people who don’t consume enough of vitamin C. And the side effects of the vitamin are rare, even when ingested in high quantities.

In fact, vitamin C was used for this purpose for more than 300 years. Sailors on a long voyage used to include lime juice in their rations to protect themselves from scurvy.

Scurvy can be prevented with as little as 10 grams of vitamin C daily.

14. Cures Lead Toxicity

Low levels of vitamin C in the bloodstream are often associated with high levels of lead. Regular vitamin C supplementation was found to reduce blood lead levels in smokers .

Another study suggests that vitamin C can alleviate lead toxicity. And foods high in vitamin C are safe and help prevent lead poisoning. However, certain studies say taking vitamin C may not have any effect on lead toxicity.

15. Combats Stroke

Eating foods rich in vitamin C can prevent stroke, and in particular, hemorrhagic stroke. Vitamin C can combat stroke by reducing blood pressure. Low levels of vitamin C can also increase the risk of spontaneous brain hemorrhages.

Vitamin C, along with iron, can help cut stroke risk. Also, as per a study, people with high levels of vitamin C in their blood could reduce their stroke risk by 42%.

16. Improves Your Mood

Studies on hospitalized patients have proved that taking adequate amounts of vitamin C can improve mood. It has mood-elevating effects.

Vitamin C supplementation was also found to reduce anxiety in students.

17. Aids In Weight Loss

Getting adequate vitamin C increases the oxidation of body fat during exercise. Hence, a deficiency of vitamin C can hinder weight and fat loss. Vitamin C also enhances metabolism, and this aids weight loss.

19. Boosts Energy

Vitamin C was found to help you push through the pain barrier and eliminate fatigue. Supplementing vitamin C had also made the training of school footballers about 10% easier and reduced fatigue by as much as 55%.

In another Korean study, vitamin C had significantly reduced work-related fatigue in healthy employee.

Vitamin C supplementation was also found to improve physical activity levels in men who had marginal vitamin C status.

What Are The Benefits For Skin?

The benefits of vitamin C extend to the skin too. For instance, in addition to oral consumption, you can also use vitamin C topically (like a serum) and reap the benefits. The serum stimulates collagen and protects the skin from other damaging factors like pollution.

20. Heals Burns And Wounds

Preliminary evidence suggests that vitamin C can improve wound healing and reduce the requirement of ventilation in patients with severe burns. The antioxidants in vitamin C also help treat burn lesions.

A high dose of vitamin C also reduces capillary leakage post a burn injury. And since vitamin C supports new tissue growth and skin, it works wonderfully well to heal burns and wounds.

21. Treats Sunburn

The antioxidant properties of vitamin C play a role in collagen synthesis, and they help in treating sunburn. Oral vitamin C intake or topical application of vitamin C oil can help improve the condition. But it is important to note that vitamin C must only be used as an addition to sunscreen, not a replacement.

Vitamin C was also found to reduce the effects of UVB-induced erythema (superficial reddening of the skin).

22. Aids In The Treatment Of Eczema

One good way to treat eczema is a combination of vitamin C and zinc – taking 500 to 1000 mg of vitamin C and 15 mg of zinc every day can act as a potential cure.

23. Aids In Collagen Production

Vitamin C is a required component for the production of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, both of which are needed to bind the molecules that produce collagen. This, in turn, firms and tones the skin. Collagen deficiency makes the skin dull and lifeless. Collagen rejuvenates the skin from the roots and reduces wrinkles and symptoms of aging.

24. Protects Against Skin Discoloration

Vitamin C protects DNA from photochemical reactions that can lead to tumor, skin discoloration, and several kinds of skin cancer. It also inhibits the production of pyrimidine dimers that are the primary cause of melanomas in humans. It lightens dark discoloration like skin freckles and age spots and helps you get younger and smoother skin.

25. Improves Skin Texture

Collagen also provides the structure for the blood vessels. The tiny blood vessels under the skin carry oxygen and nutrients that keep the skin healthy. Without enough nutrients, the skin will become rough and dry. Creams containing Vitamin C improve the appearance and texture of the skin.

Vitamin C increases the formation of elastin, which thickens, protects, and heals the skin cells. The thickening effect helps retain moisture, increases the skin circulation, and plumps up the skin surface.

What Are The Benefits For Hair?

Surprisingly enough, vitamin C does have benefits for your hair too!

26. Enhances Hair Growth

Low intake of Vitamin C may be a root cause for a number of hair-related problems that affect our hair growth. Vitamin C deficiency may result in dry hair and split ends. These conditions are unfavorable for the regular growth of hair and eventually lead to hair loss.

When our body turns food that we consume into glucose for energy production, free radicals are naturally formed. These free radicals damage our hair by making it weak, brittle, and thin, which interrupts hair growth. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties reduce the formation of free radicals and minimizes their effect on our body. Having an adequate supply of Vitamin C in our diet is essential for antioxidant protection against free radicals.

People who take huge amount of vitamin C have healthy, strong, and thick hair.

27. Fights Dandruff

Our hair follicles often get clogged due to dandruff and dry, flaky skin. This can damage the hair follicles and also inhibit hair growth. Vitamin C helps fight the bacteria on the scalp. It wards off dandruff, helps to get rid of the follicles’ debris, and encourages the growth of new hair. It also helps with dry and itchy scalps because of its antiviral properties.

28. Prevents Premature Greying Of Hair

Vitamin C not only helps combat hair loss but also helps retain the natural color by preventing the premature aging of hair. However, there is limited research on this.

The benefits are immense, aren’t they? But what good would they be if one doesn’t know the sources of this vitamin?

What Are The Dietary Sources Of Vitamin C?

There are numerous foods right in your kitchen that are excellent sources of vitamin C. These include chilli peppers (108 mg of vitamin C per 1 cup serving), bell peppers (120 to 190 mg), broccoli (132 mg), kale (80.4 mg), papaya (88.3 mg), strawberries (84.7 mg), cauliflower (127.7 mg), mango (122.3 mg), pineapple (78.9 mg), lemon (112.4 mg), orange (95.8 mg), rosehips (541 mg), and kiwi (137.2 mg).

And if you are one of those people who are more inclined towards taking supplements –

What About Vitamin C Supplements?

Vitamin C supplements usually contain the vitamin in the form of ascorbic acid (it has equivalent bioavailability to that of ascorbic acid that occurs naturally in foods).

Some popular vitamin C capsules or tablets include Poten Cee, Cshine, Vcne, Redoxon, and Celin 500. These supplements have benefits for the skin (face, especially) and overall health as well. Even a vitamin C injection (liquid vitamin C) or, in other words, intravenous vitamin C, can have similar benefits. Intravenous vitamin C delivers a much larger dose than the oral dose and is used for skin, immune system and also as a complementary treatment in cancer patients.

Other forms include vitamin C drops, crystals, or the powder (for the skin). One can even use vitamin C cream for the skin.

All great. But one must also know how to take vitamin C.

How To Take Vitamin C?

The best way to take vitamin C is by including the foods rich in the vitamin in your diet. Most fruits and vegetables contain this vitamin – so you can have a regular fruit or vegetable salad and rest assured. Even a glass of juice or smoothie would work wonders.

But if you really don’t have the time to prepare a salad for yourself, you can go for supplements. Depending on the dosage, you can take a vitamin C supplement 2 to 3 times a day – with your meals. You may also take it on an empty stomach, as some research says that is when vitamin C absorbs better. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist to determine the right dosage for you.

A result constant innovation in the field of medicine is what we now call liposomal vitamin C. Liposomal technology is used to enhance the absorption of the nutrients. Liposomal vitamin C offers bioavailability advantages over OTC supplements – the phospholipids it contains forms liposomes in the stomach when mixed with water. These liposomes increase the rate of absorption.

And as per most experts, this is the best form of vitamin C.

Coming to the recommended allowance

Evidence

Research on the use of vitamin C for specific conditions shows:

  • Cancer. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables might lower your risk of many types of cancer, such as breast, colon and lung cancers. However, it’s not clear whether this protective effect is related to the vitamin C content in the food. Taking oral vitamin C supplements doesn’t appear to offer the same benefit.
  • Common cold. Taking oral vitamin C supplements won’t prevent the common cold. Evidence also shows that the benefits of regularly taking vitamin C supplements to reduce the duration or severity of a cold are minimal.
  • Eye diseases. Taking oral vitamin C supplements in combination with other vitamins and minerals seems to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from worsening. Some studies also suggest that people who have higher levels of vitamin C in their diets have a lower risk of developing cataracts.

Our take

Most people get enough vitamin C from a balanced diet. People who might be susceptible to vitamin C deficiency may benefit from the use of vitamin C supplements.

Safety and side effects

When taken at appropriate doses, oral vitamin C supplements are generally considered safe. Taking too much vitamin C can cause side effects, including:

  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach cramps or bloating
  • Fatigue and sleepiness, or sometimes insomnia
  • Headache
  • Skin flushing

In some people, oral vitamin C supplements can cause kidney stones, especially when taken in high doses. Long-term use of oral vitamin C supplements over 2,000 milligrams a day increases the risk of significant side effects.

Tell your doctor that you’re taking vitamin C supplements before having any medical tests. High levels of vitamin C might interfere with the results of certain tests, such as stool tests for occult blood or glucose screening tests.

Interactions

Possible interactions include:

  • Aluminum. Taking vitamin C can increase your absorption of aluminum from medications containing aluminum, such as phosphate binders. This can be harmful for people with kidney problems.
  • Chemotherapy. There is concern that use of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, during chemotherapy might reduce the effect of chemotherapy drugs.
  • Estrogen. Taking vitamin C with oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy might increase your estrogen levels.
  • Protease inhibitors. Oral use of vitamin C might reduce the effect of these antiviral drugs.
  • Statins and niacin. When taken with vitamin C, the effects of niacin and statins, which might benefit people with high cholesterol, could be reduced.
  • Warfarin (Jantoven). High doses of vitamin C might reduce your response to this anticoagulant.

BeautyRx Skincare Triple Vitamin C Serum ($95)

With three different forms of vitamin C, the formula delivers major brightening and anti-aging benefits. Plus, it feels weightless on skin.

InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum ($96)

One of the most affordable serums on the market, this formula includes vitamins C and E, ferulic acid and hyaluronic acid — offering you the most brightness for your buck. (What’s more, its 4-plus stars on Amazon is based on over 5,000 ratings.)

Farmacy Very Cherry Bright 15% Clean Vitamin C Serum ($62)

This lightweight, natural serum delivers vitamin C derived from cherries, sinks in fast, and even smells like its namesake fruit.

Fleur & Bee Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum 

This natural serum contains the synergistic blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid—as well as clary sage for extra antioxidant benefits.

Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C Serum ($64)

The multitasker offers vitamin C to brighten and protect, squalane to moisturize, and peptides for minimizing lines and wrinkles. All you need is sunscreen and you’re good to go.

Elizabeth Arden Vitamin C Ceramide Capsules Radiance Renewal Serum ($48)

Worried about vitamin C oxidizing? These single-serving, travel-friendly capsules ensure that each application is fresh and working at peak efficacy.

Cleen Beauty Vitamin C Papaya Glow Serum ($10)

One of the most affordable vitamin C serums on the market—if not the most affordable—the combination of vitamin C and licorice root offers brighter skin on a budget.

Physicians Formula Rosé All Day Moisturizer SPF 30 ($17.99)

While this isn’t a serum, it can be helpful to have vitamin C in your sunscreen. “Vitamin C can increase the stability of SPF,” Wexler explains. And it acts like a sunscreen booster to help defend your skin against sun damage.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil ($40 – $80)

For the winter months, when skin tends to be drier, consider switching to a vitamin C oil. It’ll boost radiance by first delivering vitamin C and then locking hydration into skin.

Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum ($20)

Vitamin C meets hyaluronic acid (a moisturizer) and green tea extract (another antioxidant) in this serum to address everything from dryness to fine lines and wrinkles.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum ($92)

Designed specifically to target dark spots, this combines vitamin C with licorice extract and lactic acid to lighten hyperpigmentation from breakouts and sun exposure.

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