During this uncertain time, with many of us concerned about the ramifications of COVID-19, it’s important to understand why looking after yourself and ensuring you have a strong immune system.
We have previously posted about the benefits of nutrients such as folate, vitamin E and vitamin D, and emphasised why maintaining good hygiene and health is essential. We have all learnt from an early age that vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients that helps maintain a healthy immune system.
Vitamin C assists in preventing colds, provides protections against cardiovascular disease, helps to manage high blood pressure, prevents iron deficiency and some studies have suggested it may also reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and eye diseases such as cataracts and age related muscular degeneration. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which we know have numerous benefits to people trying to conceive.
How Vitamin C works
How does it work? Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in water and is carried to the tissues around your body, however it is not stored in the body and because of this, it needs to be replenished regularly in your diet. Vitamin C cannot be made in the body, therefore, it is even more important that it becomes an essential dietary component.
Research that was published in Belgium has also shown that vitamin C may also increase the uptake of folic acid. The study showed that vitamin C was able to increase the folate bioavailability and help the body absorb folic acid.
People who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency include infants who are fed evaporated milk, people with limited food availability, those who suffer from absorption problems and chronic diseases that cause severe intestinal malabsorption and people who smoke. Smokers and people exposed to second-hand smoke have been found to consistently have lowered plasma vitamin C levels than non-smokers due to the impact of excessive oxidative stress.
Vitamin C and fertility
In terms of fertility, how can vitamin C help boost your chances of conceiving?
Numerous studies have revealed that women with sufficient vitamin C levels have a greater chance of falling pregnant.
Vitamin C not only assists in improving the normal hormonal balance and providing your body with antioxidants, it can also assist in regulating ovarian function and menstrual cycles. In addition to improving hormonal balances, vitamin C has also been shown to improve uterine health which is essential for implantation and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
In men, vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm health and is critical for the protection of sperm DNA.
We have posted previously about the damaging effects smoking has on sperm health by increasing DNA damage and oxidative damage. Vitamin C has shown to reduce the occurrence of chromosomal defects in sperm and therefore will assist in decreasing the risk of miscarriages.
As mentioned before, vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, which means that it cannot be stored in the body. It is, therefore, extremely important that, your diet has sufficient vitamin C, but it is also essential that you stop smoking if you are trying to conceive.
Vitamin C in food
So, what foods should I eat to ensure I’m getting enough vitamin C?
Foods rich in vitamin C include broccoli, kale, kiwifruit, papaya, strawberries, capsicum, tomatoes and, of course, oranges. Keep eating those vitamin C rich foods and you’ll be doing what you can to ensure your body has enough to keep it going.