Vitamin C also known as L-ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin that is essential for the normal growth and development of the body. Vitamin C is used for the growth and repair of tissues throughout your body and helps with iron absorption. Vitamin C is used by the body for the healing of wounds, and for repairing and maintaining bones, teeth, and cartilage. Vitamin C is also necessary for forming collagen which is used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which helps to block damage from free radicals. The continuous build-up of Vitamin C is partly responsible for the aging process and can contribute to diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Your body will not make or store Vitamin C that is why it is important to include Vitamin C in your daily diet.
Vitamin C Benefits
As mentioned above Vitamin C is used for the growth and repairing of your body which is why it is important to intake the proper daily amount. Below is a list of Benefits from taking Vitamin C
- Heals Wounds
- Maintains Connective Tissue
- Promotes a healthy Immune System
- May reduce Heart Disease and Cancer
- Maintains Healthy Gums
- Produces Collagen
- May reduce wrinkling
- May reduce Prenatal Health Problems
- May reduce Eye disease
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin C deficiency can cause a number of problems and symptoms. Below is a list of possible symptoms form Vitamin C deficiency.
- Gingivitis, Swollen Gums, Bleeding Gums
- Nosebleeds, Easy Bruising
- Muscle and Joint Aches
- Slow Healing of Wounds
- Frequent Infections
- Weight Gain from Slowed Metabolism
- Rough and Dry Skin
- Weakened Tooth Enamel
Diseases Related to Vitamin C Deficiency
Scurvy is a disease related to Vitamin C Deficiency, it is characterized by general weakness, anemia, and gingivitis. Other diseases that may result from Vitamin C deficiency are Arthritis, Cancer and Heart Disease.
People at Risk for Vitamin C Deficiency
- Infants being fed Evaporated Milk
- People that have end-stage Renal Disease
- People that have Intestinal Malabsorption
- Some Cancer Patients
Best Vitamin C Supplements
The most common supplement of Vitamin C is ascorbic acid which is similar to that of naturally occurring ascorbic acid in foods. Other forms include sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids, and products such as Ester C which contain a combination of compounds. Most experts believe that ascorbic acid is the preferred source of Vitamin C.
Foods that Contain Vitamin C
Highest sources of Vitamin C are listed first. Heating foods can decrease the amounts of Vitamin C content.
- Red Pepper
- Orange Juice
- Grapefruit Juice
- Green Pepper
- Tomato Juice
- Green Peas
Vitamin C Toxicity or Overdose
Vitamin C has low toxicity and it is not believed to have serious adverse effects at high intakes. Most complaints are about nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Other side effects may include reduced Vitamin B12 absorption and copper levels. High levels may also cause excess iron absorption.
Vitamin C interactions with Medications
Using Vitamin C with Chemotherapy and Radiation is controversial. It is thought that antioxidants may protect tumor cells while other evidence states that it protects normal tissue from Chemotherapy.
Vitamin C along with other antioxidants may interact with Statins and attenuate the increase in high-density lipoprotein levels.
Recommended Daily Allowance
Individuals who smoke require 35mg/day more Vitamin C than nonsmokers. Certain individuals may require higher intake levels
- 0-6 months: Male 40mg; Female 40mg
- 7-12 months: Male 50mg; Female 50mg
- 1-3 years: Male 15mg; Female 15mg
- 4-8 years: Male 25mg; Female 25mg
- 9-13 years: Male 45mg; Female 45mg
- 14-18 years: Male 75mg; Female 65mg; Pregnant 80mg; Lactating 115mg
- ≥ 19 years: Male 90 mg; Female 75mg; Pregnant 85mg; Lactating 120mg