Recent studies have shown vitamin C to aid in hormonal secretion and stress response. Researchers have determined that a lack of this vital nutrient can have adverse health effects. While not every study was conclusive, scientists did point to a correlation between higher intake levels and proper hormonal balance.
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid, or ascorbate) is a nutrient found in a variety of foods, especially citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables. Deficiencies can cause a wide range of health complications, such as skin irritations, bleeding gums and poor wound healing.
It is possible to supplement the diet with vitamin tablets. However, since they are absorbed quickly in the body, it is preferable to use time-release capsules. The alternative is to supplement gradually throughout the day.
Impact on adrenal function
Vitamin C helps with the production of adrenaline, aldosterone and cortisol. These vital hormones assist with homeostasis (temperature and blood regulation) and metabolic function.
For example, when cortisol levels begin to spike, the uptake of ascorbic acid increases. If inadequate amounts of vitamin C are present, the result could be a decrease in immune function, which could result in a slow recovery from respiratory infections and colds.
Impact on thyroid function
The thyroid is a crucial gland found deep in the neck that produces the hormones T3 and T4, which help regulate basal metabolic rate, temperature and blood flow.
Oxidative stress caused by free radicals can damage the thyroid. Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, sufficient intake can help prevent and repair free radical damage.
Vitamin C also helps to increase the absorption of thyroxine, a drug used for the treatment of hypothyroidism.
Impact on estrogen production
Research has shown vitamin C to be beneficial in the natural production of estrogen, although it is unclear why. One possibility is that ascorbic acid has been shown to reduce candida overgrowth in the uterus. By eliminating or preventing this harmful fungus, ovarian function is usually restored to normal.
Role of vitamin C on stress response
Stress is often referred to by the medical community as the fight-or-flight response. When a stressful event occurs, such as a near-miss with another driver’s vehicle, the stress response kicks in and releases cortisol to help the body stabilize heart rate, blood pressure and temperature.
The body will release a flood of cortisol during a stressful day. If that stress becomes chronic, there could be adverse health effects. Chronic hypertension, lowered immunity and even diabetes are all problems related to high levels of chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels.
Faster cortisol recovery
When the adrenal glands flood the body with cortisol during a stressful event, normal levels will usually return within a reasonable amount of time. However, if the body is lacking the proper amount of vitamin C, there may be a longer than usual interval for recovery. The result, over time, could lead to chronic health conditions. By supplementing with vitamin C throughout the day, there is a higher chance for cortisol recovery and a decrease in incidence for stress-related diseases.