Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient with many vital functions in your body.
It helps strengthen your immune system, aids collagen production and wound healing, and acts as an antioxidant to protect your cells from free radical damage.
Vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbic acid, or simply ascorbic acid.
Unlike other animals, humans cannot synthesise vitamin C on their own. Therefore, you must get enough of it from foods or supplements to maintain good health.
Though it may not be the cure for the common cold, the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
Vitamin C plays a role in controlling infections and healing wounds, and is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralise harmful free radicals. It is needed to make collagen, a fibrous protein in connective tissue that is weaved throughout various systems in the body: nervous, immune, bone, cartilage, blood, and others. The vitamin helps make several hormones and chemical messengers used in the brain and nerves.
So, how much do we need per day?
The amount of vitamin C you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts for different ages are listed below in milligrams (mg). (REF:)
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 6 months||40 mg|
|Infants 7–12 months||50 mg|
|Children 1–3 years||15 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||25 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||45 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (boys)||75 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (girls)||65 mg|
|Adults (men)||90 mg|
|Adults (women)||75 mg|
|Pregnant teens||80 mg|
|Pregnant women||85 mg|
|Breastfeeding teens||115 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||120 mg|
If you smoke, add 35 mg to the above values to calculate your total daily recommended amount.
Good sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
Good sources include:
- citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice
- brussels sprouts
“The safe upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 milligrams a day, and there is a great track record with strong evidence that taking 500 milligrams daily is safe,” an expert says.
But keep in mind that while many people may not always get the optimal level of vitamin C, having a vitamin C deficiency is very rare in the U.S. and many other countries. Vitamin C deficiency is mainly seen in malnourished adults. In extreme cases, it can lead to scurvy — characterised by weakness, anaemia, bruising, bleeding, and loose teeth.
While a cup of orange juice or a half-cup of red pepper would be enough to meet your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. To reach 500 milligrams (mg), you could turn to all of these foods and beverages):
- Cantaloupe, 1 cup (8 ounces): 59mg
- Orange juice, 1 cup: 97 mg
- Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup: 74mg
- Red cabbage, 1/2 cup: 40mg
- Green pepper, 1/2 cup, 60mg
- Red pepper, 1/2 cup, 95mg
- Kiwi, 1 medium: 70mg
- Tomato juice, 1 cup: 45mg.
The body doesn’t store vitamin C, so overdose is not a concern. But it’s still important not to exceed the safe upper limit of 2,000 milligrams a day to avoid stomach upset and diarrhoea.
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