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3 Surprising Things You Probably Didn't Know About Vitamin C

Hannah Frye
Author:
August 26, 2022
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
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Image by Sophia Hsin / Stocksy
August 26, 2022

Just because immune support is the poster child benefit of vitamin C doesn't mean it's the only reason to ingest this buzzy essential nutrient. Vitamin C plays a role in the whole body, including the skin, brain, heart, and more. Here, a few not-so-popular benefits to keeping up with your vitamin C intake—they may take you by surprise. 

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Vitamin C supports brain health. 

Fun fact: Vitamin C is found in exceptionally high concentrations in the brain1. This nutrient functions as an antioxidant and protects against oxidative stress that may affect cognitive function and memory.*

One of the imperative brain functions gaining support from vitamin C is your focus levels. In one recent study, vitamin C supplementation "increased work motivation and attentional focus2 and contributed to better performance on cognitive tasks requiring sustained energy."* 

Lastly, higher vitamin C levels are linked to a happier mental state. Shocking, we know. Here's why: In this antioxidant study3, individuals with the highest plasma (i.e., blood levels) vitamin C concentrations were likely to have an elevated mood.* Sufficient vitamin C status was also inversely correlated with sadness, anger, and confusion. Pretty impressive, no?

If you want to learn more about vitamin C's role in brain health, check out this deep dive

Vitamin C promotes optimal heart health.

Research suggests vitamin C supplementation plays a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure4.* This is because vitamin C is required for collagen production, and this protein makes up the connective tissues in the heart5 and entire body (more on collagen next).*

Specifically, vitamin C supports endothelial function. The endothelium is a thin membrane made of endothelial cells that line the heart and blood vessels. We need this membrane to function properly in order for our hearts to do the same. And according to a research review in the journal Atherosclerosis, vitamin C supplementation promotes the overall health and function of the endothelium6.* 

Believe it or not, there are even more heart-happy benefits to vitamin C supplementation, a few of which you can find here, if you're curious.

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Vitamin C supports collagen production. 

As we mentioned earlier, but it's so whole-body important, we'll say it again: Vitamin C plays a pivotal role in collagen production in the body—which is the protein building block of the skin. And low vitamin C levels over time may lead to skin that looks more wrinkled7, dry, and dull than usual. 

Your skin may be your largest organ, but there are plenty of other full-body benefits to maintaining healthy collagen levels, as it is required for the structure and optimal function of your muscles, joints, bones, blood vessels, gut, eyes, and more. 

Collagen production is just one of the skin-loving benefits of vitamin C supplementation—more to learn here.* 

The takeaway. 

Immune support is certainly a major benefit of taking vitamin C supplements. However, it's not the only notable perk to maintaining proper levels. Vitamin C also promotes heart, brain, and skin health.* What's more, your body doesn't create its own vitamin C, so you should be mindful to consume it through your food and supplement intake every single day to reap the long list of benefits.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.

Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.