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Since COVID-19 entered the scene in 2020, the importance of supplementation for immune health has increasingly gained attention. Studies continue to show the benefits of vitamin D and zinc as well as vitamin C.

While vitamin C is not naturally produced by the body, it serves an important role in protecting cells against free radicals which supports a healthy immune system. This vital nutrient also improves iron absorption, helps lower LDL cholesterol and decreases risk of heart disease.

Boosting immune health

While vitamin C cannot prevent you from getting sick altogether, it is an essential nutrient that strengthens your body’s natural defenses and may help reduce the severity of sicknesses, such as the common cold and the flu.

Cooper Complete® Natural Vitamin C with bioflavonoids supports a healthy immune system. Serving as a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C protects cells from harmful molecules called free radicals, or unstable atoms that can damage healthy cells in the body and cause illness. This supplement’s anti-inflammatory properties also aid in reducing the body’s susceptibility to disease.

Lowering LDL and risk of heart disease

An analysis of nine studies with nearly 300,000 total participants over 10 years revealed those who supplemented a healthy diet with 700 mg of vitamin C daily lowered their risk of developing heart disease by 25% in comparison to those who did not take vitamin C.

A separate analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials found those who consistently took a vitamin C supplement also significantly reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by nearly 7.9 mg/dL and blood triglycerides by 20.1 mg/dL.

Improving iron absorption

Vitamin C also improves the body’s ability to absorb iron, particularly from plant-based foods (non-heme iron) which can be more difficult for the body to absorb compared to animal products (heme iron). This is important due to iron’s role in creating red blood cells and carrying oxygen throughout the body.

With meat and animal products being a primary source of iron, the aid vitamin C provides in absorbing iron from plant-based food is especially good news for individuals who are vegetarian or vegan. Research also shows simply taking as little as 100 mg of vitamin C per day to improve iron absorption by 67%, benefiting those who are anemic or prone to iron deficiency. For example, a study of 65 children with anemia showed consuming a vitamin C supplement helped alleviate the symptoms associated with anemia.

Vitamin C deficiency

The typical American diet lacks an adequate intake of fruits and vegetables, leaving the majority of the population prone to vitamin C deficiency. Individuals with hyperthyroidism and those who smoke are also more likely to be vitamin C deficient. Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums, bruising easily and slow healing of wounds.

Food sources of vitamin C

The body does not naturally produce vitamin C, making supplementation in addition to incorporating foods high in vitamin C crucial to meet optimal levels.

While one might be aware of the most common foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and leafy greens, this powerful antioxidant is also found in various other food sources that can easily be incorporated in one’s daily diet. A few practical ways to meet one’s vitamin C needs in a well-balanced diet include:


  • ¾ cup grapefruit juice: 248 mg
  • 1 cup passionfruit: 71 mg
  • 1 cup mango: 60 mg
  • 1 cup tangerines: 52 mg
  • 1 plantain: 50 mg


  • 1 cup cauliflower: 56 mg
  • 1 cup asparagus: 45 mg
  • 1 cup peas: 32 mg
  • 1 medium sweet potato: 22 mg
  • 1 cup onion: 12 mg
  • 1 cup carrots: 7 mg

While vitamin C may not be the silver bullet in preventing sickness and disease altogether, it can indeed boost one’s immune response and reduce the risk of developing chronic illness in the future.

Cooper Clinic recommends trying to meet one’s nutritional needs appropriately with food sources first and using supplementation to bridge the gaps. Supplementing a well-balanced diet of foods rich in vitamin C rich can help boost your nutritional intake as well as your body’s defense response to disease.

As a reminder, your physician understands your health profile best, so it’s important to talk to him or her about which supplements are best for you.

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