Vitamin C: The Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Hormones
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is probably the top vitamin we've been told to take since we were kids. Somewhere you've heard of using vitamin C as a cold remedy but it turns out vitamin C can do a lot more for our bodies than just boost our immune system. Vitamin C actually plays a role in hormone function. It does a lot more but I wanted to focus on your hormone health today.
Let's dive in to why you'll want to include this into your day and how! But first I'd like to talk about the effects it has on your hormones because even though the immune system/cold information is super important before flu season, you've probably heard a version of it and we might as well start the with the interesting parts.
1: Vitamin C can increase progesterone levels
Why does this matter? Progesterone helps to prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. Many women with PCOS are low in progesterone. I'm not saying vitamin C is a cure but one study showed that taking daily Vitamin C at 750 mg did increase progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone made following ovulation. It can help reduce anxiety, improve brain function, make periods easier and create an overall better mood.
2: Vitamin C increases Fertility
Well if you read #1 you've already guessed one reason it helps increase fertility, because of increased progesterone levels but it's also found to help increase the health of your eggs. Studies done on mice have shown that vitamin C impacts follicle integrity, and even helps to restore follicular reserves and aging ovaries.
What are follicles? An ovarian follicle is a fluid-filled sac that contains an immature egg, or oocyte. During ovulation, a mature egg is released from a follicle.
In another study, 750mg of vitamin C was given to women struggling to get pregnant. Within 6 months, 25% of them were pregnant and showed increased levels of progesterone.
3: Vitamin C for Endometriosis
We've talked about Endometriosis and how tissue that is similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. It's a very painful condition where the endometrium liner responds to hormone changes with your menstrual cycle.
Well, according to this next study, vitamin C may reduce pain in women with Endometriosis. The study was done on chronic pain, it found that 43% of participants with Endometriosis had reduced pain when taking vitamin C and E. The study suggests this may be from the antioxidants reducing inflammation.
4: Vitamin C for Heavy Periods
We just mentioned the anti-inflammatory effects vitamin C has but did you know those can also help reduce heavy bleeding?
A study using a vitamin C and bioflavonoid combo found that 89% of women experiencing heavy periods had a reduction in flow after supplementing with vitamin C and bioflavonoids (Bioflavonoids have been used in alternative medicine as an aid to enhance the action of vitamin C). The study believes this helps reduce heavy bleeding because the vitamin C's anti-inflammatory ability strengthens the capillary walls.
5: Vitamin C for Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety cause our bodies havoc. How often have you read a blog on The S'moo Co. where it mentions the possible cause could be stress? Well vitamin C is actually required to make catecholamines which are hormones made by your adrenal glands (dopamine; norepinephrine; and adrenaline).
When you are physically or emotionally stressed your adrenal glands send catecholamines into your blood. You're thinking... wouldn't I want less of that? Well, no. You can't stop your body from producing catecholamines but it does use a lot of vitamin C to produce dopamine; norepinephrine; and adrenaline for your stressful situations.
Which is why, in times of stress, some people benefit from increasing their intake of vitamin C as studies show it actually can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety this is probably because you're keeping your stress hormones balanced and not starved for what they need. One particular study showed 500 mg daily vitamin C supplementation was all you needed to reduce stress.
6: So what do you think?
Will Vitamin C be on your list when you go to the store? If so, keep in mind that taking vitamin C has more benefit to your body if taken daily. In fact some studies suggest it is only helpful taken consistently and this is because it is water-soluble and thus can't be stored in large amounts in your body.
If you take more than you need, it will be flushed out of your system the next time you use the restroom. Plus, why not take it daily? Besides helping you with your hormones it's great for your ligaments, tendons, teeth, eyes, blood vessels, skin and bones. It can reduce the time of a cold (studies show by one day, though it will not stop a cold from happening) and it's great for your thyroid health.
How much should I take?
Next time you go to the doctor, ask your health provider what a good amount of vitamin C is for you. In the studies above, vitamin C was tested at 500 mg per day to 750mg per day but some recommendations for daily intake are as low as 75 mg per day or 120 mg per day for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Though it's said you can take up to 2,000 mg per day without risk (If you have been taking this amount and want to reduce your intake, it's suggested you decrease your intake gradually as prolonged use of high doses speeds up your metabolism of vitamin c and cutting it abruptly might take your level to below normal). There is a lot of variety so I'd say start small and ask a heath care provider when you're able.
Can I get my daily vitamin C from fruits and vegetables?
Taking vitamin C supplements isn't the only want to get your vitamin C. We've gone over some great smoothies with high vitamin C or you can focus on incorporating. High vitamin C foods include guavas, bell peppers, kiwifruit, strawberries, oranges, papayas, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, and snow peas. Here are a few options and how much you'd need.
- Acerola Cherries - 1/2 cup = 822 mg of vitamin C
- Rose hips - six rose hips = 119 mg of vitamin C
- Chili Peppers - 1 chili pepper = 109 mg of vitamin C
- Kiwis - 1 kiwi = 71 mg of vitamin C
- Broccoli - 1/2 cup cooked broccoli = 51 mg of vitamin C
- Strawberries - 1 cup strawberries = 89 mg of vitamin C
- Oranges - One medium-sized orange = 70 mg of vitamin C
- Kale - One cup of chopped raw kale = 80 mg of vitamin C
This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.