What is vitamin c?
Benefits of vitamin c for skin
Benefits of vitamin c for immune health
How much vitamin c should I take when I’m sick?
Does vitamin c help with covid?
Benefits of vitamin c for metabolism & boosting energy levels
How do I know if I have low vitamin c?
Is it ok if I take vitamin c every day?
How much vitamin c can I take a day?
How long does vitamin c stay in your system?
Can I take vitamin c at night?

12 minute read

Vitamin c is a vital nutrient with numerous benefits. Also known as ascorbic acid, it is a multifaceted nutrient with a range of essential roles in the body.

Ultimately, vitamin c is a versatile nutrient, best obtained from a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, that contributes significantly to our overall health and well-being.

In this ultimate guide, find out how exactly vitamin c can provide major benefit towards your skin health, immune health, its role in supporting energy levels, what happens when you are deficit in vitamin c & answers to other common vitamin c questions.

What is vitamin c?


First and foremost, there is occasional confusion regarding what Vitamin C is. If you’re wondering is citric acid vitamin c – plain and simple, NO.

Vitamin c, scientifically known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. It is essential for various bodily functions, including the synthesis of collagen, the absorption of iron from plant-based foods, and a robust immune system.

It is considered an essential nutrient for human health. An essential nutrient is one that the body cannot produce on its own or cannot produce in sufficient quantities to meet its needs. Therefore, it must be obtained through the diet or supplements.

Vitamin C is found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables, with citrus fruits like oranges and lemons being well-known sources. It is a vital nutrient for overall health and is commonly taken as a dietary supplement.


Why is vitamin c so powerful?

Benefits of vitamin c for skin:

young woman sitting on bench in sun showing skin

Acne management:

Vitamin c offers skin benefits that indirectly support acne management. It serves as a potent antioxidant, shielding skin cells from free radical damage, potentially contributing to overall skin health and acne prevention.

Additionally, it plays a key role in collagen production, aiding skin tissue health, immune system support, and wound healing, all of which can help prevent and heal acne lesions while bolstering the body’s ability to fight infections.


Supports wound healing:

Vitamin c aids wound healing through several mechanisms.

It promotes collagen synthesis, providing structural support for tissue repair. Vitamin c supports immune function, defends against infection, and reduces oxidative damage at the wound site. It also facilitates the formation of new blood vessels, ensuring adequate oxygen and nutrient supply to the wound.

Overall, vitamin c accelerates wound closure, minimizes scarring, and enhances the healing process.


Anti-aging benefits & collagen production:

Vitamin c plays a significant role in addressing anti-aging and wrinkling through its various skin benefits.

As we age, collagen production decreases, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. Vitamin c helps stimulate collagen production, improving skin. Vitamin c is essential for collagen synthesis, a protein that maintains skin’s structure and elasticity.

Vitamin c is a potent antioxidant, which means it helps protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and UV radiation. Free radicals can damage collagen fibers, leading to premature aging and decreased skin elasticity. This protection reduces the formation of age spots, sunspots, and other signs of sun damage, ultimately preventing premature aging.

Benefits of vitamin c for immune health:

woman wearing mask to reduce covid risk getting a taxi

Anti-viral properties

When foreign microbes are introduced into our systems, vitamin c protects against viral infections by supporting production of interferons.

Infected cells release signaling proteins called interferons; these proteins stimulate nearby cells to heighten their anti-viral defenses interfering with viral replication.


Anti-bacterial properties

Vitamin c supports immune function by stimulating white blood cells to site of an infection, killing and digesting and removing bacteria and fungi pathogens.


Antioxidant properties 

Vitamin c is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable and seek to stabilize themselves by “stealing” electrons from other molecules in the body, leading to a chain reaction of damage.

This damage is associated with a range of health problems, including aging, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and various chronic conditions.

Antioxidants, like vitamin c, neutralize and counteract the harmful effects of free radicals in the body and help upkeep a strong immune defense system.


How much vitamin c should I take when I’m sick?

While we associate vitamin c as the ultimate cure-all for the common cold and flu, it won’t prevent colds or other viral infections, but may help reduce its severity and recovery time. Any time of the year, but during Fall & Winter especially, it is vital to support immune health as colds, flu, and covid risks increase.

Your body can handle around 300 to 400 mg of vitamin c at a time, but with higher doses, less is absorbed. So mega dosing with vitamin c is really less helpful than one would imagine.

While vitamin c is water-soluble and excess is eliminated through urine, you can [though not common] get too much vitamin c. When you overdose on vitamin c you may experience symptoms including: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach cramps, & headache.

Does vitamin c help with covid?

Vitamin c has been studied for its potential role in supporting the immune system and overall health, but it is not a specific treatment for COVID-19, nor does it prevent or cure the disease.

Due to vitamin c’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial effects & antioxidant effects, it may be helpful in shortening recovery of viral infections like covid.

Some studies have explored the use of vitamin c as part of a broader approach to managing respiratory illnesses, but the results have been mixed and inconclusive.


Benefits of vitamin c for metabolism & boosting energy levels:

morning exercising surrounded by nature

Improves iron absorption & energy levels: 

While vitamin c plays a role in supporting energy levels, it does not directly provide a burst of energy like caffeine or sugar.

Vitamin c enhances the absorption of non-heme iron (the type of iron found in plant-based foods) from the diet. Iron is crucial for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to cells throughout the body.

Adequate oxygen supply to muscles and tissues is essential for energy production, so improved iron absorption can help combat fatigue and maintain energy levels.


Supporting immune health helps energy levels:

When you’re feeling unwell due to infections or illnesses, your energy levels often drop. Vitamin c is known for its immune-boosting properties.

By supporting the immune system and helping the body fight off infections, vitamin c can indirectly help you maintain your energy levels during times of illness.

How do I know if I have low vitamin c?


Low vitamin c, also known as scurvy, can have various symptoms and signs. Here are some common indicators that may suggest you have a deficiency in vitamin C:

  1. Fatigue and Weakness: Feeling unusually tired and weak can be a sign of vitamin C deficiency. This is because vitamin c plays a crucial role in energy production within the body.
  2. Muscle and Joint Pain: People with low vitamin c levels may experience muscle and joint pain, which can be attributed to the breakdown of collagen, a protein essential for the health of connective tissues.
  3. Swollen, Bleeding Gums: Vitamin c is necessary for maintaining healthy gums and preventing gum disease.
  4. Slow Wound Healing: Vitamin c is vital for the formation of collagen, which is essential for wound healing.
  5. Dry, Rough Skin: Low vitamin c levels can lead to skin problems such as dryness, roughness, and the development of small, raised red or purple spots on the skin known as petechiae.
  6. Easy Bruising: Vitamin c helps strengthen blood vessels, so low levels can result in easy bruising.
  7. Frequent Infections: Vitamin c is known to boost the immune system. A deficiency may make you more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
  8. Nosebleeds: Weak blood vessels due to vitamin c deficiency can cause nosebleeds.
  9. Anemia: In some cases, vitamin c deficiency can lead to anemia (a condition characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells), which can result in fatigue, weakness, and paleness.
  10. Mood Changes: Some individuals with low vitamin c levels may experience mood changes, such as irritability or depression.

Is it ok if I take vitamin c every day?

Taking vitamin c supplements every day is generally safe for most people when consumed within recommended daily intake levels.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin c varies depending on age, sex, and life stage but typically ranges from 65 to 120 milligrams (mg) per day for adults.

Consuming vitamin c through a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables is usually sufficient to meet these requirements.

fruit high in vitamin c in bowls on table


How much vitamin c can I take a day?

Typically, the RDA for vitamin c ranges from 65 to 120 milligrams (mg) per day for adults.

As previously mentioned in this article, the body can really only absorb around 300-400 MGs [which is well over the RDA] at a time and becomes less effective as the body has more trouble absorbing vitamin c when in larger amounts.

However, some individuals may require more vitamin c in their diet say for instance if they have a medical condition or if they smoke – smoking depletes the body of vitamin c and so a smoker would require more to upkeep their RDA.

How long does vitamin c stay in your system?

Because vitamin c is a water-soluble vitamin it does not get stored in the body for extended periods like fat-soluble vitamins (e.g., vitamins a, d, e, and k).

It gets absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, and any excess vitamin c that the body doesn’t need is excreted in urine within a relatively short time frame.

The half-life of vitamin c in the body, which is the time it takes for half of the vitamin c to be eliminated, is estimated to be about 30 minutes to 2 hours. This means that after a few hours, most of the vitamin c you consumed has been metabolized and excreted from your body.

However, the exact duration can vary depending on factors such as your overall health, individual metabolism, and the amount of vitamin c you consumed.

Can I take vitamin c at night?

Some individuals prefer to take vitamin c in the morning because it can have an energizing effect for some people.

Others prefer to take it with meals to enhance its absorption, as vitamin c is absorbed more efficiently when consumed with food.

Ultimately, the timing of your vitamin c intake can depend on your personal preferences and lifestyle.



In summary, vitamin c, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble essential nutrient that supports various aspects of health.

Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties, which can benefit skin health, wound healing, and anti-aging efforts. It also plays a role in supporting the immune system and may help with the management of viral infections, including COVID-19.

Adequate vitamin C intake can enhance iron absorption and boost energy levels.

While it’s generally safe to take vitamin C daily within recommended limits, excessive doses can lead to side effects like diarrhea and nausea.

Vitamin C stays in the body for a short time due to its water-soluble nature, and the timing of intake can be flexible. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized vitamin C recommendations and to address specific health concerns or deficiencies.