Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is not produced by the body. It is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables but is also available in the form of supplements. The daily recommended requirement for vitamin C is 75 mg for females and 90 mg for males. Vitamin C is an important nutrient that helps in the formation of bones, skin, and blood vessels. Some important benefits of vitamin C include:
- Accelerates wound healing: Vitamin C is an important producer of collagen which is the main component of connective tissue. Researches have shown that wounds heal faster in individuals with a higher intake of vitamin C. Patients with scurvy due to vitamin C deficiency suffer from poor wound healing.
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases: Studies have shown the effect of vitamin C supplements in lowering high blood pressure. Vitamin C supplements also lower other risk factors for heart diseases such as high blood levels of LDL and triglycerides.
- Help prevent gout attacks: Several studies have shown that vitamin C rich foods and supplements reduce blood uric acid levels and thus prevent gout.
- Prevent iron deficiency: Vitamin C supplements improve the absorption of iron from the gut and also help convert poorly absorbed iron from plant-based sources into forms that are easier to absorb.
- Boosts immunity: It is an important part of the skin’s immune system. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells and helps them work more efficiently while protecting the body.
Zinc is also an essential nutrient, which means that it can not be made or stored in the body. Zinc is responsible for several functions in the body and can be obtained from natural sources or through supplements. The recommended daily allowance of zinc is 8 mg/day for females and 11 mg/day for males. Some common benefits of zinc are:
- Boosts immunity: Zinc is necessary for the body to activate T-cells (immune cells) and thus a deficiency of zinc can severely impair immune mechanisms in the body.
- Accelerates wound healing: Zinc is necessary for wound healing as it plays an important role in collagen synthesis, immune function, and inflammatory response. It is commonly used for the treatment of burns, ulcers, and other skin conditions.
- Antioxidant activity: Zinc is a strong antioxidant and helps reduce oxidative stress in the body which can otherwise cause several chronic illnesses such as heart diseases, cancer, memory problems.
- May help reduce acne: Studies have suggested that zinc can treat acne by reducing inflammation, inhibiting the growth of acne-causing bacteria, and decreasing sebaceous gland secretions.
- Decreases risk of age-related diseases: Zinc, through antioxidant activity and by increasing activity of immune cells, can reduce the risk of several age-related disorders such as pneumonia, age-related macular degeneration, osteoporosis, infections, etc.
Glutathione is a strong antioxidant that is normally produced in the body but can also be obtained from nature and through supplements. It is composed mainly of 3 amino acids; glutamine, glycine, and cystine. Glutamine levels in the body can be reduced due to poor nutrition, increasing age, environmental toxins, and stress. Some common benefits of glutathione include:
- Antioxidant activity: Glutathione helps reduce the impact of oxidative stress and thus decreases the risk of chronic infections, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
- Decrease cell damage in non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease: In glutathione deficiency, the body can not effectively neutralize and eliminate toxins which can lead to liver disease.
- Improve symptoms of peripheral vascular disease: Studies have shown that glutathione can improve mobility and pain in peripheral vascular disease such as due to atherosclerosis.
- Improve symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases: Glutathione can decrease the amount of damage to the brain in diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s which cause oxidative stress damage and decrease glutathione levels.
- Improves vitamin D function: When glutathione levels are decreased efficiency of vitamin D3 (active vitamin D) also decreases.
- Sauberlich HE. Pharmacology of vitamin C. Annual review of nutrition. 1994 Jul;14(1):371-91.
- Farris PK. Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions. Dermatologic surgery. 2005 Jul;31:814-8.
- Maret W, Sandstead HH. Zinc requirements and the risks and benefits of zinc supplementation. Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology. 2006 May 10;20(1):3-18.
- Martorell R. Benefits of zinc supplementation for child growth.
- Rushworth GF, Megson IL. Existing and potential therapeutic uses for N-acetylcysteine: the need for conversion to intracellular glutathione for antioxidant benefits. Pharmacology & therapeutics. 2014 Feb 1;141(2):150-9.
- Alpert M. The diverse benefits of glutathione: a key antioxidant for reversing chronic illness. Alternative & Complementary Therapies. 2005 Oct 1;11(5):241-5.