While it’s known for assisting the human body in battling the common cold, vitamin C is gaining new attention as evidence suggests that it has the potential to be more than simply a glorified cold remedy.

Here are a few ways (many may surprise you) that vitamin C can keep you looking younger and staying healthier longer:

Wrinkle prevention

The Antioxidant kick that beauty products are currently running with is more than a simple fad. In 2007, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article, which concluded that people who ate foods rich in the antioxidant vitamin C, had fewer wrinkles and healthier, more moisturized skin than those whose diets contained minimal amounts of the vitamin. Further, according to clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Tulane University, Patricia Farris, MD, this powerful little guy also helps to form collagen, a leading factor in smoothing fine lines and eliminating wrinkles.

The key to healthy, wrinkle free skin is vitamin C’s ability to fight free radicals, formed through cell metabolism in your body, which are believed to attack proteins, fats, and DNA and break down collagen. Vitamin C is also proven to protect the skin against dangerous ultraviolet rays, as well as performing maintenance on already damaged skin. “Vitamin C does some repair and firming on the skin,” Farris says.

Already wrinkled?

After washing your face and before beginning your daily beauty routine, for optimal skin penetration, try using a topical vitamin C treatment. Dr. Farris recommends La Roche-Posay Active C facial moisturizer or SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic topical antioxidant treatment.

Protect your heart

Although the jury is still out on whether or not antioxidants like vitamin C have the potential to prevent heart disease, scientific evidence from a study involving 300,000 people over the course of ten years suggests taking more than 700 milligrams of vitamin C supplements daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 25 percent. A more recent study, published by Harvard University, indicates that a simple way for women to reduce their risk of stroke by nearly thirty percent is to combine 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily with 600 IU of vitamin E.

Don’t be a statistic:

Eat a good amount of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as dark, leafy greens and delicious citrus. And, after clearing it with your doctor, consider taking vitamin C and E supplements to better your odds against stroke and heart disease.

Battle cancer before it starts

There are strong links between a vitamin C rich diet and a lower risk of many types of cancers including bladder, esophagus, stomach, and lung cancers. Studies by author and doctor Mark Levine, MD, chief of the molecular and clinical nutrition section and senior staff physician at the National Institutes of Health, show that Intravenous vitamin C, which simply means vitamin C administered directly into the vein, appears to trigger the formation of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is known to kill some cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. If a link really does exist between vitamin C and the formation of hydrogen peroxide, this could be great news to cancer patients and very bad news for the disease.

Do what you can to avoid cancer:

“Strive for five or more fruits and vegetables daily, in a rainbow of colors,” Levine says.

Harness Brain Power

While pairing vitamins C and E may potentially lower a woman’s risk of stroke, research from the Archives of Neurology reveals that just 500 milligrams of C and 400 IU of E may lessen your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 64 percent. Peter Zandi, PhD, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, published a study suggesting that these antioxidants work together to form a shield around the brain’s fatty content, reducing the brain’s vulnerability to an attack from free-radicals. Zandi says that “Some studies suggest that vitamin E does its job reducing free radicals in the body, but then its capacity is depleted…vitamin C may recharge E.”

Worried about your mind?

Discuss your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia with your doctor and then consider adding C and E to your daily supplements.

Protect your Eyesight

While avoiding the need for reading glasses may not be possible, vitamin C is among the leading antioxidants that prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is one of the leading causes of blindness. According to CNN, “a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute showed that a daily supplement of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta-carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc, and 2 milligrams of copper reduced the risk of moderate or severe AMD-related vision loss by up to 25 percent.” Continuing to battle free radicals – the leaders of the assault on the human body – these sight-preserving antioxidants work together to neutralize and repair damage to the retina.

At high risk for AMD?

Discuss your multi-vitamin intake with your doctor to know if it contains the above study’s amounts of C, E, beta-carotene/vitamin A, zinc, and copper. Chances are your routine multi is lacking in our superheroes, C and E. Don’t fear, a supplement to your multi-vitamin will have you covered. It is vital that you talk with your doctor, especially if you smoke, as this level of beta-carotene may increase your risk of lung cancer.

The Fountain of Youth

It may be a bit far-fetched that green tea is at the source of the endlessly sought-after fountain of youth, however, this refreshing beverage does assist the body’s defense against toxins. Remember, toxins are believed to be major contributors to cancer, heart attack, stroke and other maladies. Only two cups of green tea a day are said to reduce a woman’s risk of dying by twenty percent, according to Japanese researchers. But how does vitamin C factor in? Citrus juices may supercharge the immunity boosting power of green tea. a study from Purdue University proved that adding citrus juices to green tea provided the ability for eighty percent of the tea’s antioxidants to linger after simulated digestion, increasing the pair’s health benefits, according to study author Mario G. Ferruzzi, PhD, assistant professor in Purdue’s department of food and nutrition.

Try it out:

Add at least an ounce of citrus juice to your green tea or try Tazo Lemon Green iced tea, which is supercharged with vitamin C.

As always, check with your doctor before starting any new supplements and/or dietary changes.