How Long Does it Take for Vitamin C to Show its Effects: A Comprehensive Guide

How Long Does it Take for Vitamin C to Show its Effects: A Comprehensive Guide

How Long Does It Take Vitamin C to Work?


Scientists and health professionals alike have sung their praises for the health benefits of taking vitamin C supplements, and for good reason. Vitamin C can be super effective when taken regularly, but you may be wondering how long it takes for vitamin C to show its effects.

Vitamin C is really good for your body, but your body can’t make it on its own. Vitamin C serum dissolves in water and you can find it in lots of fruits and vegetables — like oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.

If you’re curious about taking vitamin C and are wondering how long it takes for vitamin C to work, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out more about this powerful vitamin and the benefits of taking it in supplement form!


What Is Vitamin C?

Water-soluble vitamin C (which is also known as ascorbic acid) is a type of vitamin that dissolves in water. Unlike some other vitamins, your body can't store them for later, so you need to get them every day, either from food or supplements.

Vitamin C is incredibly important because it helps your body fight off infections and heal wounds faster. It's also good at stopping free radicals in their tracks since it's an antioxidant. Plus, it helps your body make collagen, which is a protein found in connective tissue all over your body.

When it comes to taking a lot of vitamin C products, your body can only absorb so much at a time. If you take more than around 1000 mg per day, your body won't absorb as much of it. Don't worry, though — taking a lot of vitamin C isn't usually harmful because once your body has enough, it just gets rid of the extra when you pee.

That said, taking huge doses of vitamin C, like more than 3000 mg every day, can cause problems for some people. It might lead to issues like diarrhea, kidney stones (especially if you've had them before), higher levels of uric acid (which can cause gout), or too much iron if you have a condition called hemochromatosis. Whether you get vitamin C from food or supplements doesn't seem to make a difference in how well your body absorbs it.

Sometimes, in special cases like certain cancers, doctors might give you vitamin C through your veins instead of by mouth. This helps it get into your bloodstream faster. It’s important to do this under close watch, though, because it could cause issues for people with kidney problems or certain genetic conditions.

While getting the recommended amount of vitamin C (or a bit more) is generally good for your health, taking a ton of it doesn't seem to offer any extra benefits, especially if you're already healthy and eating well. In fact, in really high doses, vitamin C might even start causing damage instead of helping, although more research is needed to fully understand these particular effects.


The Benefits of Taking Vitamin C

Before we get into how long it takes for vitamin C to show its effects, let’s talk about the benefits of taking vitamin C. Some of these benefits might surprise you — vitamin C is beneficial for more reasons than just reducing cold and flu symptoms.

Wound healing

Vitamin C is super helpful when it comes to healing wounds and sun damage because it helps make collagen, a protein in skin, muscles, and other body tissues. When someone lacks enough vitamin C in their diet, their body struggles to produce collagen effectively. This can lead to slower wound healing compared to those with sufficient vitamin C levels.

During recovery from injuries or surgeries, healthcare providers might recommend supplements for people with low vitamin C levels. By boosting your vitamin C intake, you can improve your body’s collagen production, which speeds up the healing process for wounds. This is especially vital information for people who struggle to get enough vitamin C from their diet alone.

Reduced risk of heart disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Several factors contribute to heart disease risk, including high blood pressure, elevated levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL), high triglycerides, and low levels of "good" cholesterol (HDL).

The good news is that vitamin C might help lower these risk factors. A study combining data from 9 different research projects involving over 293,000 people discovered that those who took at least 700 mg of vitamin C daily had a 25% lower risk of coronary heart disease after 10 years compared to those who didn't take vitamin C supplements.

Prevents iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is a bigger deal than you might think. Iron is necessary for producing red blood cells and carrying oxygen throughout your body. Vitamin C supplements can improve the absorption of iron from your diet. This is because vitamin C helps convert iron from sources that aren't typically absorbed well, like plant-based foods, into a form that's easier for your body to use.

This is especially helpful for people who don't eat meat, as meat is a main source of iron. Just taking 100 mg of vitamin C might increase iron absorption by 67%. This means that vitamin C could lower the risk of anemia in people who are prone to iron deficiency.

In one study, researchers gave a vitamin C supplement to 65 children with mild iron deficiency anemia. They found that the supplement alone helped them manage their anemia. If you have low iron levels, adding more vitamin-C-rich foods to your diet or taking a vitamin-C supplement could help you feel a lot better.

Boosts immune health

As you may already know, many people turn to vitamin C supplements to strengthen their immune system since vitamin C plays a major role in several aspects of immunity. For example, vitamin C supports the production of white blood cells (like lymphocytes and phagocytes), which help protect the body against infections.

Vitamin C also helps these white blood cells in functioning efficiently while protecting them from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is also essential for the skin's defense mechanism. It's transported to the skin where it acts as an antioxidant and reinforces the skin's barriers against invaders.

May prevent dementia and memory problems

Dementia is somewhat common among older adults and refers to problems with thinking and memory. Research shows that oxidative stress and inflammation in the central nervous system (brain, spine, and nerves) can increase the risk of dementia. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps fight oxidative stress. Low levels of vitamin C have been associated with difficulties in thinking and remembering.

Studies have also found that people with dementia tend to have lower blood levels of vitamin C. Increasing intake of vitamin C through food or supplements has shown to potentially protect against cognitive decline as you age. Taking vitamin C supplements may be beneficial in preventing conditions like dementia, especially if your diet lacks sufficient vitamin C. However, further research is necessary to fully understand the impact of vitamin C supplements on nervous system health.


Broccoli on a gray tea towel


How Long Does it Take for Vitamin C to Work?

When it comes to vitamin C's effectiveness, you must understand that it won’t prevent the common cold. That said, consistent intake of vitamin C supplements over one to two weeks might shorten the duration of a cold since vitamin C boosts your immune system.

As we already know, vitamin C has plenty of other benefits too, such as supporting skin health, regulating mood, and improving iron absorption. So, if you start feeling more energetic, notice that your skin looks and feels healthier, or seem to have an uplifted mood after just a couple of weeks of taking vitamin C supplements, it's likely that they're working.

For those who are curious about topical vitamin C's impact on skin health — especially in fading dark spots — the answer is: yes, it can help. Vitamin C is known for its ability to act as a depigmenting agent, meaning it can fade dark spots and help promote an even, glowing skin tone.

By targeting the enzyme responsible for melanocyte production, vitamin C prevents excessive melanin production, which occurs in response to skin damage like acne marks or sun exposure. Typically, you might start seeing changes in your skin after about four weeks of using topical vitamin C, but it depends on the person.

Can You Take Vitamin C Every Day?

Taking vitamin C daily is quite safe — and can be good for your health. You must understand how your body deals with vitamin C and how much you need, though. Your body tightly regulates vitamin C, with most cells containing small amounts of it. Interestingly, cells tend to hold more vitamin C than what's in the fluid part of your blood (called plasma).

While it's best to get your daily vitamin C from your diet, you can also get it from taking supplements. The amount of vitamin C you need each day depends on your age and what you eat. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), your body absorbs a lot of the vitamin C you consume — about 70–90%. For most people, the NIH recommends a moderate intake of 30–180 milligrams (mg) per day.

It's really important to pay attention to how much vitamin C you're getting, though. If you take more than 1 gram in a day, your body won't absorb all of it. Instead, less than half gets absorbed, and the extra is passed into your urine. That's why it's a good idea to match your vitamin C intake with what your body needs each day to avoid taking supplements that your body won't fully use.

Enjoy the Benefits of Vitamin C With Revive’s Supplements

It’s not always easy to get enough vitamin C from your diet alone, so we’d recommend taking vitamin C supplements just to make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount. Revive MD has plenty of different supplements available, including vitamin C supplements, so don’t hesitate to check out our website! Just remember to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen, as always!

The information being presented in this blog is intended to be used as educational or resource information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your healthcare provider. This content should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider. You should call 911 for all medical emergencies. Revive MD is not liable for any advice or information provided on this blog, which advice or information is provided on an “as-is” basis, and assumes no liability for diagnosis, treatment, decisions, or actions made in reliance upon any advice or information contained on this blog. No warranties, express or implied, are made on the information that is provided.

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