Vitamin C: Brain, Skin, Abs, Joints, Health, Anti-Aging, oh my!

by Rehan Jalali, C.S.N.

Rehan Jalali is a nationally recognized Certified Sports Nutritionist (C.S.N.). He is President of theSupplement Research Foundation and a member of the American Medical Writers Association. He is a published scientific writer, columnist, and author. His clients include Oscar winning actors, Emmy award winning TV stars, and Grammy winning musicians, as well as Professional Athletes and Olympians. He is author of "The Six-Pack-Diet Plan" and the "Sports Supplement Buyers Guide" available at Rehan can be reached at

Vitamin C: Brain, Skin, Abs, Joints, Health, Anti-Aging, Oh my!

Linus Pauling said that "The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas." Well speaking from my 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry, taking Vitamin C daily is a really good idea! It's pretty much common knowledge that Vitamin C has anti-oxidant effects and can help with colds. But this power vitamin also has a multitude of research based effects that can supercharge your body. This vitamin is even more essential for summer. In fact, I would consider it the summer vitamin because it protects the skin and helps support a lean body. The new research on Vitamin C is as exciting as the American Idol Finale! Let's put this important and essential water soluble vitamin under the proverbial microscope and validate its importance!

Vitamin C Basics

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an essential water soluble vitamin. It has several functions including anti-oxidant properties, collagen synthesis, immuno-enhancing effects, and it decreases cortisol levels. According to Dr. Linus Pauling, who is probably one of the greatest researchers of Vitamin C, most animals, except humans, monkeys and apes can produce Vitamin C endogenously without taking it in from foods. These animals make Vitamin C in their liver in amounts that are proportional to their respected body weights. This turns out to be an average of about 10-12 grams of Vitamin C a day for a normal adult. The reason why humans need exogenous sources of Vitamin C is because they lack an enzyme called gulunolactone oxidase, which is the last enzyme needed for ascorbic acid synthesis.

Vitamin C and Free Radicals

Vitamin C helps fight free radicals in the body. It is a powerful anti-oxidant. Free radicals are responsible for all kinds of oxidative damage and stress. In fact, they have even been implicated in DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in training athletes. Vitamin C lowers oxidative stress and inflammation which helps with cardiovascular health. Many experts say heart disease is now being linked to inflammation and C-reactive protein. Vitamin C helps lower C-reactive protein!

Immunity and Cortisol

Vitamin C has been shown to considerably decrease the duration of cold episodes and the severity of symptoms. Vitamin C helps increase the testosterone:cortisol ratio by decreasing cortisol levels. Cortisol is needed in small amounts for proper body function but excess amounts of this stress hormone can cause all kinds of havoc in the body including increased abdominal fat and muscle breakdown.

Collagen and Skin

Vitamin C aids in collagen synthesis. Collagen is a very important substance in the human body. It strengthens the skin, muscles, and bones. Collagen is a primary component of the ligaments and tendons. There are may studies that document Vitamin C's importance for healthy ligaments and tendons. Vitamin C is required in a reaction that stimulates collagen formation. Research even suggests that Vitamin C (along with D-alpha tocopherol) can lower the sunburn reaction and protect skin! Good news for all you sunbathers out there looking to bask in the suns glory all summer! The essential amino acid Lysine can be synergistic with Vitamin C in terms of healthy skin support. Other research combining L-Lysine and Vitamin C shows anti-tumor effects.

Bone Health and Aging

Research from UCSD shows that Vitamin C can have a beneficial effect on bone mineral density! So not only can it make your skin better but it can even make your bones stronger! A complex process called glycation can speed up the aging process. Ascorbic acid can inhibit glycation and slow the aging process! Slow aging, look and feel better -- Sounds great to me!

Vitamin C and Fat Loss

Vitamin C is important in the synthesis of carnitine. Sufficient production of carnitine is important in fat metabolism because carnitine helps transport long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria for their breakdown to occur. Vitamin C may keep you leaner. Great timing for summer! Plasma Vitamin C has been inversely releated to BMI and waist circumference according to research. In English, the more Vitamin C in your system, the leaner you may be!

Vitamin C also plays a key role in neurotransmitter synthesis, gut health, and cholesterol catabolism. It has a protective effect on age-related cognitive decline. There doesn't seem to be a superior form of Vitamin C on the market so plain old ascorbic acid is good. It has a fairly short half-life so a timed release version may be better utilized.

As you can see, this power packed vitamin is a must-have, so stock up for the summer!

Jigsaw Vitamin C w/SRT is an easy and effective way to get the Vitamin C your body needs.


1) Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA.

2) Dermatologische Klinik und Poliklinik der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany

3) Unidad de Dermatología, Hospital da Costa, Rafael Vior s/n, 27880 Burela, Lugo, Spain.

4) Dr. Rath Research Institute, Cancer Division, Santa Clara, CA-95050, USA.