Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, it helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin.
- Helps in Regenerating & Repair Muscles Tissues: Vitamin C helps to repair and regenerate tissues, protect against heart disease, aid in the absorption of iron, prevent scurvy, and triglycerides.
- Helps in Reducing the Risk of Cancer: Research indicates that vitamin C may help protect against a variety of cancers by combating free radicals, and helping neutralize the effects of nitrites (preservatives found in some packaged foods that may raise the risk of certain forms of cancer).
- Helps in various Medical Conditions: Supplemental vitamin C may also lessen the duration and symptoms of a common cold, help delay or prevent cataracts, and support healthy immune function.
Recommendations for Adults
The recommended vitamin C daily allowance for adults over age 19 is:
- Men, 90 milligrams per day
- Women, 75 milligrams per day
- Pregnant women, 85 milligrams per day
- Breastfeeding women, 120 milligrams per day.
- Smokers may benefit from a higher intake.
Recommendations for Infants
- infants 0-6 months old, 40 milligrams per day
- infants 7-12 months old, 50 milligrams per day.
Recommendations for Children and Teens
- toddlers 1-3 years old, 15 milligrams per day
- children 4-8 years old, 25 milligrams per day
- children 9-13 years old, 45 milligrams per day
- male teens 14-18 years old, 75 milligrams per day
- female teens 14-18 years old, 65 milligrams per day
Vitamin C in Foods
Vitamin C is easy to get through foods, as many fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C.
Good sources include:
- Melon (Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon)
- Citrus Fruits (lemons, limes, oranges)
- Fortified Foods (Breads, Grains, Cereal)
- Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Spinach)
Risk Factors in Vitamin C
- When obtained from food sources and supplements in the recommended dosages, vitamin C is generally regarded as safe. Side effects are rarely reported, but include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
- For most healthy individuals, the body can only hold and use about 200-250 milligrams of vitamin C a day, and any excess is lost though urine.
- At times of illness, during recovery from injury, or under conditions of increased oxidative stress (including smoking), the body can use greater amounts.
- High doses of vitamin C (greater than 2,000 milligrams/day) may contribute to the formation of kidney stones, as well as cause severe diarrhea, nausea, and gastritis.
Some Special Considerations in Vitamin C
Vitamin C may increase absorption of iron and lutein. Although some evidence suggests that large doses of supplemental vitamin C may interfere with the absorption and metabolism of vitamin B12 which is found in food. However! Other studies have shown no such effects. Adverse effects may occur between vitamin C and anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin), decreasing their action. Nicotine products, oral contraceptives/estrogens, tetracyclines, barbiturates, and aspirin may decrease levels of vitamin C.