header glossary of supplements

One of the most familiar supplements, vitamin C is something humans need to ingest because they can’t make it on their own. It’s also known as ascorbic acid, and can come from food or concentrated tablets and capsules.

vitamin c

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Many people associate vitamin C with boosting their immune systems to avoid colds and other illnesses, but it isn’t as effective as most believe. Instead, its bigger role is in forming a protein that does ligament, tendon, skin and blood vessel repairs. It helps with the upkeep in bones, teeth and cartilage and aids in scar tissue formation. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, which is critical for healthy circulation. (via Medline Plus) Click here for a list of foods to help you boost your immune system.

Usually, 75 mg a day for women is all that’s needed — pregnant women can have a bit more. Fortunately, too much vitamin C won’t have any harmful effects on the body because it’s the one supplement the kidneys are able to simply flush out. On the opposite end of this, too little Vitamin C can lead to symptoms of bleeding gums, dry or splitting hair, anemia, easy bleeding, nosebleeds, and eventually a condition called scurvy. (Fact: Pirates were often diagnosed with scurvy due to their lack of vitamin C rich foods and poor diets.)

Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and green or red peppers. If a food label says there is “fortified vitamin C” in it, that means it was created in a lab and added to the food. Fortified vitamin C is still safe and able to be absorbed by the body.

>> Read more: The Power of Spinach