Adequate vitamin C levels can prevent inflammation and the development of metabolic disorders

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an important vitamin for the growth, development, and repair of body tissues. It also plays a role in many bodily functions, including the proper functioning of the liver. If the body lacks vitamin C, many processes will be affected. A review published in the journal Redox Biology emphasized the importance of adequate vitamin C in supporting gut and liver health and preventing the development of metabolic disorders.

According to authors, people need to consume sufficient amounts of vitamin C to alleviate endotoxemia and consequent pro-inflammatory responses that give rise to metabolic disorders. Endotoxemia – the presence of endotoxins in the blood – is associated with an increase in the absorption of bacteria and gut-derived endotoxins, such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS triggers gut and liver inflammation. When the gut barrier function is impaired due to excessive dietary energy (caloric) intake, metabolic endotoxemia occurs, followed immediately by inflammation. These events impair vitamin C absorption, which, together with impaired gut barrier function, can be seen in people with metabolic syndrome.

In order to prevent this, adequate vitamin C status should be maintained. People can avoid suffering from endotoxemia and inflammation in the gut and liver by improving their vitamin C status. This will also prevent chronic inflammation and oxidative damage, which can induce insulin resistance and the development of related metabolic disorders.

Other reasons why you need enough vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system. Having a strong immune system helps lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C can also reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering high blood pressure and decreasing the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides.

As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps repair tissue and reduces damage from inflammation and oxidation. People with adequate vitamin C levels are believed to have stronger immunity against infections compared with those who are vitamin C-deficient. Vitamin C may also help protect against acute respiratory infections, especially in people with malnutrition and those who are physically stressed. In addition, vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitters. It also helps metabolize proteins.

Ways to increase vitamin C intake

Vitamin C is not stored by body, so people need to consume foods that contain the vitamin to maintain adequate levels of it. Here are some tips on how to improve your vitamin C status:

  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables. When fruits and vegetables are cooked, some of their important nutrients get lost, especially water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C. So it is important to eat fruits and vegetables raw whenever possible. Examples of fruits with high vitamin C content are papaya, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, and grapefruit. Vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy, parsley, turnip greens, and sweet potato are also rich in vitamin C.
  • Snack on vitamin C-rich fruits. Instead of snacking on junk foods, eat fruits that are rich in vitamin C.
  • Eat more fermented foods. Fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut are rich in vitamin C. One serving of kimchi offers almost half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

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