Skip to content

What Taking Vitamin C Every Day Does to Your Body

There are a bunch of benefits — and a few risks — to amping up your vitamin C intake.

Vitamin C, aka L-ascorbic acid, is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and also available as a dietary supplement, explains the National Institutes of Health—but do you know what taking vitamin C every day does to your body? According to Darren Mareiniss, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, the vitamin is essential to every diet—and knowing what taking vitamin C every day does to your body is important. "Vitamin C is naturally present in many foods and is not synthesized by the body," he explains to Eat This, Not That! Health. "It must be ingested." Food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cantaloupe, potatoes, strawberries, and spinach. However, some people prefer taking it in supplement form. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Vitamin C Can Help Your Body Heal

Medical assistant applying bandage onto patient's hand in clinic

"Vitamin C is an essential component of connective tissue and plays a role in wound healing," says Dr. Mareiniss. 

RELATED: The #1 Cause of "Deadly" Cancer, According to Science


Vitamin C Has Antioxidant Powers

Citrus essential

Dr. Mareiniss explains that Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning they can help prevent cell damage. Therefore, it can help prevent health issues where oxidative stress plays a role.  

RELATED: How to Reverse Aging, Say Studies


Vitamin C Can Boost Your Collagen Production

hydrolyzed collagen

Dr. Mareiniss explains that Vitamin C "is required for the biosynthesis of collagen." This is why it is a key ingredient in many skincare products.

RELATED: 5 Reasons to Check Your Teeth Now, Say Health Experts


Vitamin C Can Help Prevent Cancer 

woman in bed suffering from cancer

Per the NIH, there is an abundance of research supporting that vitamin C can help keep cancer at bay. "Most case-control studies have found an inverse association between dietary vitamin C intake and cancers of the lung, breast, colon or rectum, stomach, oral cavity, larynx or pharynx, and esophagus," they reveal. 

RELATED: Everyday Habits That Add Years to Your Life, Studies Show


Vitamin C Can Help Improve Heart Health

female holding folded hands on chest

According to the NIH, there is some evidence that vitamin C can help keep cardiovascular disease at bay. One of the largest studies, involving over 85,000 women, found that intake of vitamin c in both dietary and supplemental form reduced the risk of coronary heart disease. Others have found it can reduce the risk of stroke. 

RELATED: 7 Health Habits to Stop After Age 60


Vitamin C Can Help Prevent Vision Loss

Close up of female hand pointing at eye chart with Latin letters during eyesight test in ophthalmology clinic

The NIH also offers compelling evidence that vitamin c may help prevent and even treat age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, the two leading causes of vision loss in older people. 

RELATED: Virus Expert Warns These 7 States Will Have Next Surge


Vitamin C Can Prevent Scurvy

Closeup of microbiologist or medical worker hand with blue surgical gloves marking blood test result as positive for the scurvy

According to the NIH and Dr. Mareiniss, acute vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy. "This is very rare in developed countries," he explains. Signs of scurvy can appear within a month of vitamin c deficiency. Initial symptoms include fatigue, Malaise, and inflammation of the gyms. However, the condition can worsen to include depression, swollen bleeding gums, and the loosening and loss of teeth. If left untreated it can be fatal. 

RELATED: 10 Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, Say Dermatologists


Vitamin C Can Help Treat a Cold

Sick woman and cold remedies.

Vitamin C is commonly thought of as an immune booster. However, the NIH points out that it might not be as effective in preventing a cold as you would think. Vitamin C can help shorten the duration of the common cold, says Dr. Mareiniss. "Vitamin C supplements might shorten the duration of the common cold and ameliorate symptom severity in the general population" possibly due to the anti-histamine effect of high-dose vitamin C," explains the NIH. 

RELATED: Sure Signs You're Getting Dementia, According to Science


Vitamin C Can Upset Your Stomach 

Sick woman having a stomach ache

While vitamin C has low toxicity and therefore, doesn't cause serious adverse effects at high intakes However, it can cause gastrointestinal disturbances — including diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps. 

RELATED: The #1 Worst Habit For Your Liver, Say Experts


Vitamin C Could Cause Kidney Stones


There is some conflicting evidence that high amounts of vitamin C could "increase urinary oxalate and uric acid excretion" which could contribute to the formation of kidney stones. 

RELATED: How to Reverse Visceral Fat, Say Experts


Vitamin C Can Help Prevent Iron Deficiency

Woman anemia

Vitamin C aids your body in iron absorption. One study found that just 100mg of vitamin C can improve the absorption of the blood building mineral by 67%. As for yourself, consider whether you're getting enough vitamin C, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah