Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a well-known vitamin. Unlike fellow antioxidant Vitamin E, Vitamin C is water-soluble. This means the body flushes it out regularly instead of storing it for future use. Daily amounts of Vitamin C need to be consumed to keep the body healthy. Another name for it is ascorbic acid.

How Vitamin C Helps the Body

Vitamin C helps with growth and repair of tissue, functions as an antioxidant, and is most well known for fighting colds and diseases.

Growth and Repair of Tissue

Vitamin C is an important component in a protein that forms skin, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. This makes Vitamin C very important for healing wounds and forming scars. In addition, it is also critical for cartilage, bone, and teeth and can help the body absorb iron. Vitamin C functions in the entire body and plays a crucial role in keeping it properly functioning.

Antioxidant

Antioxidants block and may help repair damage caused by free-radicals. Free radicals enter the body from smoke, radiation, even the process of turning food into energy. The accumulation of this damage is thought to play a role in many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Vitamin C not only functions as an antioxidant itself, but it boosts other antioxidants, most notably Vitamin E. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are both stronger in the presence of the other and boost the antioxidant powers delivered to the body.

Prevention and Treatment of Diseases

Vitamin C has been linked to treatments for everything from cancer and heart disease down to the common cold. Prevention and treatment of cancer and heart disease have had mixed results in scientific studies. Studies found either no difference in prevention or treatment or found that Vitamin C has positively prevented or treated cancer and heart disease. One contributing factor may be the delivery method. Higher plasma concentrations can be achieved when using Vitamin C delivered intravenously as opposed to orally, but it is unclear if that will affect results. Vitamin C is often promised as a cure for the common cold. While scientific studies have found that high levels of vitamin C do not prevent the cold, it may shorten the length of the common cold by a couple of days.

How to Get Vitamin C

Vitamin C cannot be synthesized by the body, so it must be consumed in the diet. Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables. The most common fruits include cantaloupe, orange, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, berries, and watermelon. The most common vegetables are broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, spinach, cabbage, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and squash.

Other sources of Vitamin C may be fortified cereals and beverages. It is also available as a dietary supplement.

Cooking and storing foods rich in Vitamin C for long periods may decrease the amount of Vitamin C available. Light decreases Vitamin C levels, so keep products out of light and avoid clear containers. The body absorbs what Vitamin C it needs from the available foods and normally around 70-90% of what is consumed is absorbed. When Vitamin C consumption is above 1000 mg per day, the absorbency drops to 50%, making supplements with high levels unnecessary.

Vitamin C and the Population

Vitamin C deficiency is not common in developed worlds, but it does still happen. Symptoms of deficiency include anemia, bleeding gums, inability to fight infection, decreased ability to heal from wounds, dry and splitting hair, bruising easily, gingivitis, nose bleeds, weight gain, rough or dry skin, swollen or painful joints, and weakened tooth enamel. Severe Vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy. Scurvy can appear in as little as one month of Vitamin C levels below 10 mg/day, but the amount of time it takes to transpire is highly dependent on the individual. Scurvy is most common among people that don’t have variety in their diets such as the elderly, the mentally ill, people that abuse drugs and alcohol, and people that follow very restrictive diets. The lack of variety in these diets may mean that people are missing essential nutrients, including Vitamin C.

Too much Vitamin C is not a large concern. Because the vitamin is water-soluble, what the body doesn’t use is flushed out in the urine and doesn’t have much of a chance to build up. However, very large amounts, in excess of 2000 mg/day, can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Pregnant women should not take large Vitamin C supplements because it can result in Vitamin C deficiency in the baby after birth. High doses of Vitamin C can also interact with some medications, causing problems for patients. Make sure to tell your doctor if you are taking a Vitamin C supplement.

But how much Vitamin C should you be consuming daily? Here are some general guidelines for healthy Vitamin C consumption.

Age

(in years)

RDA

mg/day

Under 1 40-50
1-8 15-25
9-13 45
14-18 65-75
19+ 75-90

 

Women that are breastfeeding or pregnant will require more Vitamin C than the usual recommended amount. The additional amount will help support the mother and the baby. People that smoke and people with certain medical conditions will also require additional Vitamin C to be healthy.

Get Healthier by Using More Vitamin C

Willard’s Water helps the body absorb more Vitamin C. Make the most of the morning orange juice with a daily dose of Willard’s Water. It will boost your body’s ability to process Vitamin C, that means more anti-oxidant power, more ability to heal from wounds, and less joint pain. Willard’s Water can help get your body feeling great and performing in peak condition.

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