When we think of nutrients vital for bone health, calcium and vitamin D often come to mind. However, there is another nutrient that plays a significant role in maintaining strong bones - vitamin C.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in collagen formation, a protein that makes up a significant part of our bones. Without enough vitamin C, our bones may become weaker and more prone to fractures.
This article delves into the science behind vitamin C and its role in bone health.
Let’s jump right in!
Vitamin C is one of the nutrients necessary for life. We need it, in quite an amount, but our bodies cannot make it. Therefore we rely on diets or supplements sometimes to meet our daily requirements.
Vitamin C is also involved in vital bodily processes. Such as collagen synthesis and the formation of collagen fibres, which aid in tissue repair and wound healing. Generally, vitamin C plays a significant role in maintaining overall health.
While it is commonly known for its role in immune system support and fighting off colds, its importance in bone health is a bit under the carpet.
Roles of vitamin C in bone health
Our bones comprise a complex network of proteins, minerals, and other nutrients, including vitamin C. Here are some ways in which vitamin C affects bone health;
One of the crucial functions of vitamin C in bone health is its role in collagen synthesis.
Collagen is a protein offering the bones structure and support. Vitamin C is needed to make this well-needed protein.
Low vitamin C impairs collagen production, leading to weaker bones and an increased risk of fractures. While collagen synthesis is not the only way vitamin C supports bone health, it is safe and tops the list.
Aids absorption of calcium
Vitamin C helping the body assimilate other minerals is no discovery. This could be seen majorly in iron and calcium, both of which are essential for bone strength. Hence some supplements contain vitamin C and iron, while some contain vitamin C and calcium.
Calcium is a critical component of bone tissue, and without sufficient amounts, bones will become weak and brittle.
Act as antioxidant
Additionally, vitamin C is an antioxidant. This makes it suitable for preventing bone tissue from damage caused by free radicals. These radicals can cause oxidative stress, leading to cellular damage and inflammation.
Neutralising these free radicals help prevent damage to bone tissue, promoting healthy bone growth and repair.
This is a bone disorder characterised by poor density and an increased risk of bone fracture. Research has shown that low levels of vitamin C could result in this condition.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that women with higher levels of vitamin C had a lower risk of hip fractures.
How much vitamin C do we need for optimal bone health?
Some may suggest a higher intake than the recommended daily. But sticking to the recommended daily intake every day is perfect. RDA for vitamin C is 75-90 mg for adults.
It could be higher or lesser depending on gender, age and other conditions. Getting enough vitamin C through diet alone is possible. But to be on the safer side and devoid of vitamin C deficiency, supplements come in handy.
This is particularly true for those who are at risk of deficiency. They include smokers, older adults, and people with certain medical conditions.
Other roles of vitamin C
Some other roles vitamin C plays include;
- Reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases.
- Vitamin C plays an essential role in the immune system.
- Defend against specific malignancies.
- Combat cardiovascular illness.
- Reduce your blood pressure.
- Maintain cognitive function.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for bone health. It plays a critical role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones. Its role in collagen synthesis, mineral absorption, and antioxidant activity makes it essential for strong and healthy bones.
Ensuring adequate vitamin C and vitamin D intake through diet or supplementation would help to reduce their risk of various bone anomalies.