The Big Mistake You're Probably Making With Vitamin C

We can get vitamin C from foods like citrus fruits and bell peppers, to supplements including gummies, tablets, powders, and chewables (via WebMD). Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning your body needs adequate amounts of it to live optimally. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin C is responsible for helping form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen

The water-soluble vitamin, also known as L-ascorbic acid, plays a role in supporting the body's wound healing process. It is also a powerful antioxidant that continues to be studied for potential properties that might decrease the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and other chronic medical conditions (via National Institutes of Health).

People are more commonly aware that vitamin C is essential for keeping the immune system strong. "Vitamin C protects against environmental oxidative stress," Roseanne Schnell, a dietitian for The Vitamin Shoppe, told Eat This, Not That! "Your vitamin C levels can decline rapidly during illness and emotional and physical stress. If you're suffering from a vitamin C deficiency, it can result in an impaired immune system. It also puts you at risk to be more susceptible to infections."

Take vitamin C daily for optimal results

If you fall into the group of people who only take vitamin C when they have a cold, you are making a big mistake. With all the beneficial functions the vitamin provides, including reducing inflammation, preventing iron deficiency, and supporting brain health, ensuring an adequate daily intake is better for your wellbeing (per Healthline).

Studies have shown that the vitamin can't prevent you from catching a cold, but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shares that supplementing with high doses of C can shorten the duration of the cold by up to one and a half days. Furthermore, WebMD reports that vitamin C can reduce the severity of the common cold symptoms, but only when taking the vitamin daily. 

If you only take vitamin C when you feel a cold coming on or you are already sick with the flu, you are not going to reap all the benefits. The Harvard Medical School notes that it's safe to take up to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily. Of course, always inform your doctor of any supplements you are taking.