Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient. That means your body doesn’t make it, so you have to get it through diet or supplements. Vitamin C is in many foods, such as oranges, red and green peppers, and kiwi.
-Can Prevent Gout Attacks
Gout is a common and extremely painful type of arthritis that mainly affects the big toes. It’s caused by excess uric acid (a waste product) in the blood, which causes crystals to form in the joints. The crystals then cause inflammation, which leads to painful attacks.15
Several studies have shown that vitamin C can prevent gout by lowering levels of uric acid in the blood. This may, at least in part, be due to its antioxidant activity. Uric acid levels appear to be higher in people with significant oxidative stress.16
Vitamin C is known to help your body absorb some nutrients. Among healthcare providers, that led to a long-standing practice of recommending vitamin C supplements with iron supplements for treating anemia.
The different results may be related to what kind of iron people took. Nonheme iron from plant sources is better absorbed with vitamin C. Heme iron, the form found in meat, is better absorbed in general because it has higher bioavailability than nonheme iron.2021 More research is needed to sort this out.
Vitamin C and Iron Supplements
Boosts Immunity and Speeds Healing
Vitamin C’s best-known use is for boosting the immune system. It does this by:22
Helping your body make several types of specialized immune cells that guard against infection
Improving the function of those immune cells
Protecting them from damage by free radicals
Studies show vitamin C’s effect on the immune system may help with certain infections, such as:
Vitamin C is also sometimes used orally (by mouth) or topically (applied to the skin) for skin healing. According to research, vitamin C use may:
Reduce deaths from severe burns (in high oral or IV doses soon after admission to a hospital)26
Promote wound healing (orally or topically)27
Reduce skin inflammation in conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (orally or topically)
Protect skin against damage from the sun (orally or along with topical vitamin E)27
These abilities are believed to be largely due to vitamin C’s antioxidant activity along with its ability to promote collagen production in the skin.27
This is likely better achieved with nutritional intake (including supplements) rather than topically because collagen is present in deeper layers of skin and can’t penetrate the outer layers to get there.