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Vitamin C: Benefits & Dosage Recommendations

Updated: Sep 17


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in many human body functions, including strengthening immune function and building tissue. Although it comes in many forms and can be found in many foods, vitamin C deficiencies are common in developed countries due to the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets. However, you can easily supplement your daily intake with vitamin C supplements or other sources like guavas, kiwis, and bell peppers. Read on for more information about this vital nutrient!



Vitamin C properties


Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. It's also an essential nutrient for humans. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a disease that causes bleeding gums and loose teeth, among other symptoms.

Vitamin C has many functions in the human body, including:

  • Antioxidant Properties: Much like other antioxidants such as vitamin E and CoQ10, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to protect your cells from free radicals, which are harmful molecules that contribute to cell damage and disease. The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C also help boost immunity by fighting off infections caused by viruses and bacteria when you get sick (1).

  • Immune Support: Vitamin C is known for its immune-boosting effects because it helps produce collagen, which is essential in wound healing (2).

What is vitamin C?


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that the body needs for healthy gums and skin and for the production of collagen. This essential protein maintains the strength of blood vessels, organs, and bones.

Besides being a nutrient your body needs to function correctly, vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant. It helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals like cigarette smoke and pollution. Vitamin C also helps prevent certain kinds of cancer and heart disease by reducing inflammation in the arteries (decreasing risk).


Vitamin C and metabolism


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that's important for supporting many different body functions. It's most famous for its powerful antioxidant capabilities, which help prevent and repair damage from free radicals in your body. Free radicals are byproducts of normal cellular processes associated with aging and disease. Antioxidants neutralize these harmful compounds, preventing them from damaging the DNA in cells and affecting health in a negative way (1).

Vitamin C has other important roles as well: it plays an integral part in collagen synthesis, which is necessary for healthy skin, eyesight, and gums (2), assists in iron absorption (3), supports immune system function (4), and helps our bodies produce carnitine—an essential nutrient that helps burn fat as fuel instead of storing it as fat deposits (5).


Healthy foods rich in vitamin C


Vitamin C is found in a lot of foods. Some of the best sources are oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits; berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries); vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and kale; broccoli; papaya; cabbage; potatoes and pears. In general, if you eat lots of fresh produce and avoid processed foods with added sodium (salt), chances are you're getting enough vitamin C in your diet for protection against colds.



Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy)


Scurvy, the disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C, was common among sailors in the 16th century. Sailors often died from scurvy due to their lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables during long sea voyages.

Symptoms include bleeding gums, spongy gums, and loose teeth. In severe cases, patients develop anemia, muscle wasting, and joint pain (sometimes so intense that walking becomes difficult).


Vitamin C absorption, transport, and recycling


So now you know that vitamin C is absorbed in the small intestine and transported to the liver via the portal vein. But what happens next? What does your body do with all this vitamin C?

Vitamin C is recycled in your body by an enzymatic process that converts it into a compound called L-ascorbic acid (LAA). This compound can then be oxidized back into ascorbic acid for use by other cells in your body. Ascorbic acid also plays an antioxidant, which helps clear out harmful free radicals throughout your system, including those that contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress damage.

In addition to being recycled and used by cells directly, some of this LAA may also be excreted through urine when it's not needed or if there's an excess supply available."


Vitamin C vitamin supplements


In addition to eating a healthy diet, the best way to get vitamin C is through supplementation.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radicals and reduces oxidative damage caused by stress and aging. It has also improved immune function in healthy people when taken regularly, especially during cold and flu season (R). Vitamin C deficiency can lead to:

  • Low immunity against infections and injuries

  • Exhaustion or fatigue

  • Scurvy (bleeding gums)

  • Rashes

Vitamin C dietary sources


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that your body can't store, so it's essential to get enough in your daily diet. You can also take supplements if you are not getting enough food.

Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, but the best sources come from citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons; peppers (both red and green); sweet potatoes; kale; brussels sprouts; broccoli soup; bell peppers (yellow); cauliflower florets & leaves; acerola cherry juice concentrate—deliciously tart!


Other uses of vitamin C


Vitamin C is also a dietary supplement to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and prevent cancer. Very high vitamin C may help treat colds or prevent them, but there's no substantial evidence that it works.

However, vitamin C does not appear to prevent or treat the common cold in healthy people who don't smoke or breathe polluted air. High doses of Vitamin C have been linked to an increased risk for kidney stones and other conditions.


Eating a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods is the best way to supplement your intake of vitamin c.


You should eat a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods. This is the best supplement for vitamin C intake because it's challenging to get enough from food alone.

Many fruits and vegetables contain high levels of vitamin C, including citrus fruit, kiwi fruits, strawberries, and broccoli. But be aware that some foods are low in this nutrient (processed potato products like chips and French fries). Vitamin C is also present in many types of fish, such as tuna and sardines—but not all meats have it!

Vitamin C supplements are available in pill form at most drug stores or grocery stores. Keep in mind that there isn't much research on the effectiveness or safety of megadoses (more than 500 mg taken daily). Also, remember that taking too much vitamin C can cause stomach upset or diarrhea; if you experience these symptoms while taking a supplement containing more than 250 mg daily for three days straight, it's time to stop immediately!


Dosage recommendations


Vitamin C varies but is typically between 100 and 1,000 mg daily. This can be achieved through diet or supplementation, depending on your needs and budget. A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 100 mg daily from food sources and then supplement with an additional 500 mg daily if needed.


Conclusion


If you're looking for a way to supplement your vitamin C intake, it's best to start by eating various healthy foods containing this nutrient. If you're concerned about getting enough vitamin C from food alone, talk with your doctor about taking an over-the-counter supplement with at least 500 mg per serving (the maximum recommended daily amount). Be sure not to take more than 2,000 mg daily unless instructed explicitly by medical professionals!

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