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Vitamin C Facts You should Know

About a third of all the Americans depend on supplements to meet their daily vitamin C requirements. Is it really that important? Yes, vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that protects your body from harmful free radicals. When our body digest foods into energy, free radicals are formed. UV rays, air pollution and cigarette smoke also expose you to free radicals.

Vitamin C is crucial in synthesis of collagen, which is necessary for healing of wounds. In addition, it plays important role in tissue growth and repair, boosting the immune system and maintain your overall health.

 

Sources of Vitamin C

Unlike animals, we humans do not synthesize our own vitamin C and neither does our body store it; so make sure to eat the foods high in vitamin C. Citrus fruits and vegetables are the best sources of ascorbic acid.Vitamin C Plant Sources

 

  • All the citrus fruits – lemons, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and mandarins are well known for containing plenty of vitamin C
  • Vegetables and other fruits rich in vitamin C are strawberries, kiwifruit, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, peppers, cantaloupe, cabbage, cauliflower and peas.
  • Nowadays vitamin C is added to many fortified breakfast cereals, foods and beverages. Check out the products’ labels to know the amount of vitamin C added in it.

 

Since ascorbic acid is sensitive to air, temperature and water, cooking, boiling and prolonged storage reduce the quantity of vitamin C by one-fourth.

 

Vitamin C Dosage

The quantity of vitamin C required depends on your age. The recommended daily intake for different age groups is listed below.

Recommended Daily Intake

Age

Male

Female

Pregnancy

Lactation

0-6 months

40 mg

40 mg

-

-

7-12 months

50 mg

50 mg

-

-

1-3 years

15 mg

15 mg

-

-

4-8 years

25 mg

25 mg

-

-

9-13 years

45 mg

45 mg

-

-

14-18 years

75 mg

65 mg

80 mg

115 mg

19+ years

90 mg

75 mg

85 mg

120 mg

 

-          Smokers and those who inhale second-hand smoke require 35 mg more vitamin C than normal intake to repair the damage of tissues by free radicals in the smoke.

-          Since vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat, infants who feed on boiled milk should be given extra ascorbic acid

-          Those suffering from malabsorption, kidney diseases or cancer have trouble getting enough vitamin C. If you are one of them, consider taking vitamin C supplements.

 

What are the Benefits of Vitamin C

Collagen, a glue-like protein that gives structure to our body tissues, bones, muscles and other parts of the body is synthesized primarily by ascorbic acid. Otherwise your body would be fragile, weak bones and veins.

As a strong antioxidant, vitamin C prevents and treats dozens of health conditions. It checks the formation of carcinogens and modulates immunity, thus preventing most of the cancers. It also reduces the intensity of oxidative damage that causes cancer.

Since oxidative damage is the biggest cause of cardiovascular diseases, taking higher doses of vitamin C substantially lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

In addition, vitamin C is popularly used in home treatment of cataract and common cold. It also boosts the functioning of nervous system by converting certain amino acids into neurotransmitters.

 

Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms

Individuals getting little or no vitamin C suffer from scurvy, a disease characterized by inflammation in gums, joint pain, fatigue, irritability, weight loss, poor wound healing and loss of teeth. It remains latent for 4 months to one year following the deficiency.

In severe cases it causes depression, anaemia, gangrene and conjunctival haemorrhage. If untreated, scurvy can be fatal.

 

Vitamin C Side Effects

Higher doses of vitamin C are not very toxic and rarely show adverse effects. Massive intake of ascorbic acid causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea. Vitamin C also increases iron absorption in the body causing the condition called hemochromatosis that damages body tissues.

Excessive amount of vitamin C increases the concentration of uric acid in urine.

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