Vitamin C, known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient found in certain foods. The body performs as an antioxidant, serving to defend cells against free radical damage. Free radicals are compounds formed when the body converts the food we eat into energy. Persons are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
In addition, the body needs vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein necessary for wound healing. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of iron found in plant-based foods and contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system to protect the body against illness.
How Much Vitamin C Do I Need?
The amount of it you want each day depends on your age. The average daily amounts of , expressed in milligrams (mg) that are recommended for people of different ages are as follows:
- Babies up to 6 months of age 40mg
- Babies 7 to 12 months old 50mg
- Children 1 to 3 years old 15mg
- Children 4 to 8 years old 25mg
- And also, 9 to 13 years of age 45mg
- Adolescents (males) 14 to 18 years of age 75mg
- Adolescents (girls) 14 to 18 years of age 65mg
- Adults (men) 90mg
- Adults (women) 75mg
- pregnant teens 80mg
- Pregnant women 85mg
- Breastfeeding adolescents 115mg
- Breastfeeding women 120mg
You should add 35 mg to the values above to calculate the total recommended amount of you need each day if you smoke.
What Foods are a Source of Vitamin C?
Fruits and vegetables are the most significant sources of vitamin C. To get the recommended amounts of , eat a variety of foods such as:
- Citrus fruits (for example, oranges and grapefruit) and their juices and red and green peppers and kiwi, rich in vitamin C.
- Other fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes, also contain.
- some foods and beverages fortified with it. Check the product label to see if a food contains added vitamin C.
The vitamin C content of a food may decrease when cooked or stored for a long time. It is possible that when cooking food by steaming or in microwave ovens, the loss of vitamin C is less. Fortunately, many of the best sources of it, such as fruits and vegetables, are eaten raw.
What Types of Vitamin C Dietary Supplements are There?
Most multivitamin supplements contain vitamin C. In addition, this vitamin is available alone, as a dietary supplement, or combined with other nutrients. Vitamin C in nutritional supplements is generally in ascorbic acid form. Still, some supplements contain different forms, including sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, other mineral ascorbates, and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids. Scientific studies have not shown that any form of vitamin C is more effective than others.
Do I Get Enough Vitamin C?
In the United States, maximum people get enough vitamin C from the foods and drinks they eat. Unfortunately, though, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin C:
- Smokers and people are exposed to cigarette smoke because smoke increases the amount of the body needs to repair free radical damage. Smokers need 35 mg more it per day than non-smokers.
- Babies fed cow’s milk, evaporated or boiled because cow’s milk contains minimal, and heat can destroy this vitamin. Cow’s milk is not suggested for babies under 1 year of age. Breast milk and infant formula contain sufficient sums of it.
- People who eat a minimal selection of foods.
- People with certain health conditions, such as severe hypo absorption (insufficient absorption), certain types of cancer, and kidney disease, needful hemodialysis.
What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin C?
Vitamin C deficiency is unusual in the United States and Canada. However, people who take slight or no vitamin C (less than 10 mg per day) for several weeks can develop scurvy. Scurvy causes tiredness, swollen gums, small red or violet skin spots, joint pain, poor wound healing, and kinky or “corkscrew” hair. Other symptoms of this disease include depression, swollen and bleeding gums, and loose or missing teeth. People with scurvy can also be anemic. Without treatment, scurvy is fatal.
What are Some Of the Health Effects of Vitamin C?
Scientists study vitamin C to determine how it affects health. Here are some examples of the results of these investigations:
Prevention and Treatment Of Cancer
People who get a lot of it from eating fruits and vegetables may have a lower risk of several types of cancer, including lung, breast, and colon cancer. However, taking dietary supplements without other antioxidants does not appear to help prevent cancer.
It is unknown whether high intakes of are beneficial for cancer treatment. The effects of it seem to depend on how it is administered to the patient. Oral doses of it cannot raise blood levels nearly to the amounts given by intravenous injection. Some animal and test-tube studies indicate that very high levels of vitamin C in the blood might shrink tumors. However, additional lessons are required to determine whether high doses of intravenous contribute to cancer treatment.
Dietary [vitamin C] supplements and other antioxidants may interact with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer. Therefore, people undergoing cancer treatment should consult their oncologist before taking vitamin C supplements or other dietary supplements, especially in high concentrations.
It seems that those who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers believe that the antioxidant content of these foods may be partly responsible for this association because oxidative damage is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease. However, scientists cannot yet determine whether [vitamin C] itself, found in food or supplements, helps protect people against cardiovascular disease. It is also not identified with certainty if helps prevent the worsening of cardiovascular disease in those who suffer from it.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Cataracts
Age-related macular degeneration then cataracts are two important causes of vision loss in older people. Researchers do not trust that vitamin C and other antioxidants influence the risk of age-related macular degeneration. However, research studies indicate that combined with other nutrients, may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
The relationship between and cataract formation is not clear. Some studies indicate that people who consume more found in food have a lower risk of cataracts. However, more studies are needed to clarify this association and determine whether [vitamin C] supplementation influences the risk of cataracts.
While it has long been a popular remedy for the common cold, research shows that supplementation does not reduce the risk of catching a cold for most people. However, those who take it supplements regularly may experience colds of slightly shorter duration or milder symptoms when they get a cold. Taking supplements also doesn’t help once cold symptoms start.