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Vitamin C: What is it and what does it do?

The Complete Herbal Guide / Vitamins & Minerals  / Vitamin C: What is it and what does it do?
vitamin c

Vitamin C: What is it and what does it do?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen and dentin. Collagen is the structural component of blood vessels, bones, ligaments, and tendons, while dentin is the structural component of teeth. Vitamin C is also an effective antioxidant that protects proteins and genetic materials (RNA and DNA) from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C cannot be made or stored by your body, so it is important to consume a well-balanced diet-containing vitamin C.

How much do I need to consume?

There is insufficient information to establish an RDA for vitamin C for infants. In this case, an Adequate Intake (AI) has been established:
AgeMales and Females
0 to 6 months40 mg/day
7 to 12 months50 mg/day

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is:

AgeMalesFemalesPregnancyLactation
1 to 3 years15 mg15 mgN/AN/A
4 to 8 years25 mg25 mgN/AN/A
9 to 13 years45 mg45 mgN/AN/A
14 to 18 years75 mg65 mg80 mg115 mg
19 + years90 mg/day75 mg/day85 mg/day120 mg/day

What are sources of vitamin C?

All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C, so consuming a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is the key.
FoodAmountVitamin C
Broccoli, cooked½ cup37 mg
Broccoli, raw½ cup39 mg
Brussels sprouts, cooked½ cup48 mg
Cantaloupe¼ medium47 mg
Cauliflower, cooked½ cup28 mg
Grapefruit juice¾ cup50 mg-70 mg
Green pepper, cooked½ cup51 mg
Green pepper, raw½ cup60 mg
Guava, raw½ cup188 mg
Kale, cooked½ cup27 mg
Kiwi1 medium70 mg
Mango½ cup23 mg
Orange1 medium70 mg
Orange juice¾ cup61 mg-93 mg
Papaya¼ medium47 mg
Pineapple, raw½ cup28 mg
Pod peas, cooked½ cup38 mg
Red sweet pepper, cooked½ cup116 mg
Red sweet pepper, raw½ cup142 mg
Strawberries½ cup49 mg
Sweet potato, canned½ cup34 mg
Tomato juice¾ cup33 mg
Vegetable juice¾ cup50 mg

Do I need to take a vitamin C supplement?

Many people believe that taking vitamin C will help prevent colds. Research has not shown this to be the case. More than 30 clinical trials that included over 10,000 participants have not found any relationship between vitamin C and a reduced risk of colds. There has been a small reduction in the duration of colds, so paying attention to your vitamin C intake once you have a cold is advisable.Research has shown that vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron. For this reason, anyone who needs an iron supplement is usually advised to take it with a food that is high in vitamin C or with a vitamin C supplement. Iron can be toxic at high levels, so speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.  There is an increased need for vitamin C for individuals who smoke. There is an additional 35 mg/day requirement for smokers versus nonsmokers. This can be achieved with dietary sources or a supplement.

What happens if I don’t have enough vitamin C?

Scurvy is a severe deficiency of vitamin C. It would be uncommon for most of us, but it can be found in someone who is malnourished. Less severe deficiencies can occur. Not consuming an adequate amount of vitamin C can lead to symptoms, including feeling weak, tired, and irritable, having dry and splitting hair, bleeding gums, rough, dry, and scaly skin, gingivitis, easy bruising, anemia, and a decreased ability to fight infection.

Is there such a thing as too much vitamin C?

Vitamin C is generally safe. Large doses of vitamin C may cause stomach upset and diarrhea in adults and have been reported to cause kidney stones. There is also a risk of excess iron absorption with high doses of vitamin C.

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Herbal Guide Staff

schillemi@thecompleteherbalguide.com

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.