We all know that vitamin C is an amazing nutrient. It helps support your health in many, many ways.
But how does it hold up as an anti-aging vitamin?
Unsurprisingly, it has a major impact here too. Low vitamin C levels can contribute to faster aging through various methods.
Below, we go over five ways that vitamin C works to keep you youthful, happy, and healthy as you age.
1. Supports Collagen Production
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s what keeps the skin soft, clear, and free of wrinkles. Collagen helps replace dead skin cells and maintains a fibrous layer of skin within the dermis. On top of that, collagen supports joints, muscle tissue, and cartilage. 
The problem is that our collagen levels deplete with age. This can be exacerbated by chemical exposure, such as cigarettes, or environmental exposure, such as UV rays from the sun.
This depletion causes not just the skin to wrinkle, sag, and lose its color, but it slowly deteriorates the health of joints, muscles, and other tissue throughout the body as they gradually lose their building blocks.
A review of 286 articles on vitamin C and collagen found that vitamin C can effectively synthesize collagen in the body, helping replenish the lost protein. 
Maintaining healthy collagen levels allows the skin to repair itself and keep its healthy look with the passing years.
2. Prevents Sun Damage
Photodamage occurs when harmful UV rays from the sun meet the skin. But just wearing sunscreen on a sunny day isn’t going to offer you all of the protection you want or need. The sun’s rays can penetrate the clouds, even on rainy days, and enough exposure can have negative effects on your skin.
If there’s daylight outside, there’s the opportunity for photodamage.
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants out there. As such, it can neutralize free radicals and reduce or prevent the oxidative stress that they can cause.
When the skin is exposed to UV rays, these free radicals are generated. This can lead to inflammation and signs of aging in the skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C effectively eliminates these free radicals. Additionally, UV rays damage collagen and the cellular structures it supports. By stimulating collagen production, vitamin C can help rebuild these structures following sun exposure. 
One study found that the use of vitamin C helped reduce UV ray damage by 52% and sunburn cell formation by 40-60%. 
Years of sun exposure can gradually degrade your skin’s health and appearance. Vitamin C can greatly limit the lasting damage these UV rays may cause.
3. Reduces Stress
People exposed to stress tend to age at a much faster rate. Chronic stress can cause inflammation and oxidative stress, aging the skin and increasing the risk of several health conditions. 
As we’ve already covered, vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant – can help prevent oxidative stress. But research has also shown that it can reduce inflammation throughout the body. 
On top of that, high vitamin C levels are attributed to an improved stress response. People who have high levels of vitamin C in their body don’t show the expected physical and mental signs of stress when confronted with a demanding situation. They also bounce back from stressful circumstances better than those with low levels of vitamin C. 
One German study looked at participants faced with a public speaking event. Half were given a large dose of vitamin C before their speaking engagement and half were not. The half that received the vitamin C had less stress hormones in their blood following the event than those who did not take the vitamin. They also had lower blood pressure and reported feeling less stressed. 
Research shows that vitamin C helps manage the body’s use of cortisol – the stress hormone. Cortisol is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. Though it has served us throughout our earlier years as humans, today cortisol is often produced when not needed – but the body doesn’t know that. This can lead to a constant state of stress in the body, aging it. 
Not only can vitamin C help mitigate the anti-aging effects of stress, it can help reduce the chances of you getting stressed altogether!
4. Boosts Immunity
If you know anything about vitamin C, it’s that it offers major support to the immune system.
This crucial nutrient supports the production, growth, and health of many notable immune cells within both the adaptive and innate immune system. 
Additionally, it strengthens the epithelial barrier – the protective lining of your lungs and digestive tract which helps keep out unwanted particles. 
As we age, the immune system struggles to create these crucial immune cells and weakens overall. As such, the body becomes more vulnerable to an inflammatory state – a precursor to many health issues. 
Vitamin C can help support immunity as we age by propping up the crucial immune cells that the body needs to protect itself, as well as staving off inflammation, oxidative stress, and the consequences they can carry.
5. Supports Heart Health
As we age, we want to keep the ticker healthy. After all, it does a lot for us, and it doesn’t stop! Right now, your heart is beating. It has been since you were born and, even when you get to rest and sleep, it’s still beating away.
Some of the leading causes of death involve issues with the heart. So, as we age, it’s important to keep it healthy.
Vitamin C has also been found to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body, improving cardiovascular health. 
Other research shows that vitamin C can help with blood pressure. An animal study found that the nutrient helped relax blood vessels which carry blood to the heart, lowering pressure. Additionally, an analysis of 29 human studies found that vitamin C supplementation helped lower blood pressure in healthy adults. [14, 15]
Some researchers posit that more vitamin C than the recommended daily intake (RDI) is needed to be able to reap the health benefits for the heart. 
Vitamin C And Aging
As we age, having vitamin C in our corner is a fantastic idea. Not only can it help with our appearance, it does wonders for our general health.
Vitamin C is an essential, water soluble vitamin. This means that your body doesn’t store it or produce it, but it’s necessary for your health.
So, to maintain healthy levels, it’s best to consume vitamin C daily.
And though vitamin C is in an array of fruits and vegetables, due to soil degradation, less and less vitamin C is being found in foods.
One study found a 30% decrease of vitamin C in produce between 1975 and 1997! 
That’s a 30% decrease in 22 years… and that was 24 years ago!
How much more have we lost since?
Make sure that you’re getting enough quality vitamin C that your body can actually absorb and use.
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