Centuries ago British seafarers discovered the key to staying away from scurvy: Vitamin C. Scurvy is caused by insufficient vitamin C [e.g. from fresh vegetables and fruits] and results in a range of symptoms including skin haemorrhaging, bleeding gums and joint pain.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in our health. That’s because vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is crucial to the synthesis of collagen, a protein that gives the body’s tissues structural strength and durability. Collagen also keeps skin firm and supple and helps wounds heal.
There is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that Vitamin C in high doses may help the body fight viral and bacterial infections. Robert F. Cathcart, an American orthopaedic surgeon, successfully treated over 20,000 patients with large doses of ascorbate [a form of vitamin C].
He observed that a patient’s tolerance to high doses of vitamin C seemed to increase in line with the severity of infection.
Ascorbic acid is a potent natural antioxidant. How does that help our skin? It’s all about free radicals:
Antioxidants such as vitamin C protect the skin from free radical damage.
This causes dryness, lines and wrinkles on our skin.
These particles can affect bonds in other molecules, including the proteins in the skin, and damage them.
When the skin is exposed to damaging factors such as UV radiation, charged particles called free radicals are created.
Hence, vitamin C can help the skin’s resilience to sunburn and increase the recovery rate of sunburnt skin. Research has shown that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a by-product of vitamin C, also reverses DNA damage from UVB exposure.
This is not to suggest that apply topical vitamin C is an alternative sunscreen, but it could help keep your skin more flexible and healthy.
Vitamin C really does have skin-deep benefits for your precious epidermis!