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Vitamin C For Health: Everything You Need To Know

Like every other essential vitamin and mineral that the body needs, vitamin C is incredibly useful. It has a great deal of benefits and there are a few risks if you go overboard.

Luckily, we know enough and more about this vitamin to make sure that you don’t get into troubled waters. Most of you probably already know that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C.

You must also know that it doesn’t cure the common cold. But what else do you need to know? We’ve got all the answers here. Let’s start.

What Is Vitamin C?

Medical experts say that vitamin C is one of the most effective and safest nutrients. It helps the human body in many different and important ways if you get the dosage right. And the good news is that research on vitamin C is only resulting in additions to the list of benefits.

Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is water soluble and is naturally occurring in many foods. It is also available as a supplement should you need some outside help. And even though humans can’t synthesize it, vitamin C is essential for us. Why? Let’s take a look.

Benefits Of Vitamin C

Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C is not the answer to the common cold. But there are a ton of other advantages to getting the right amount of vitamin C in your body. Here’s what they are.

Heals Wounds

Vitamin C plays an important role in helping your body produce a protein called collagen which is present in your muscles, skin and some other tissues in the body. When you don’t have enough vitamin C, your wounds will heal slowly. This is also why you are given vitamin C supplements when in recovery.

Helps Heart Health

Research has shown that vitamin C has properties of antioxidants which helps make the blood vessels wider and also improves the production of nitric oxide in the body. These can be a layer of protection against heart diseases and high blood pressure, also called hypertension.

Lowers the Risk Of Age-Related Ailments

The right amount of vitamin C can help reduce the risk of cataracts and slow down other types of muscular degeneration that the body experiences with age. This is because the antioxidants in vitamin C can help reduce oxidative stress which causes these conditions.

Helps Maintain Glucose Levels

The risk of diseases like diabetes that are caused in individuals from 31 to 60 years of age can be reduced with a good deal of vitamin C. Studies have shown that taking vitamin C supplements helps control blood pressure and maintain glucose levels.

Reduces Impact Of Air Pollution

The chemicals that are present in polluted air negatively affect our health. There is some evidence that suggests that a mix of vitamin C and E supplements can reduce that impact and give relief to those who suffer from asthma and other pulmonary diseases.

Foods With Vitamin C

There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that make for good sources of vitamin C. Some examples of foods that are rich in vitamin C are:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwis
  • Broccoli
  • Green and red peppers
  • Cantaloupes
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Green leafy veggies

It is also present in some fortified cereals. Overcooking and steaming dishes may cause the foods to lose this nutrient. But since a lot of them are eaten raw, this should not be much of a problem.


Daily Recommended Dose Of Vitamin C

The Recommended Daily Allowance or RDA is that adults take 75 to 90 mg a day to be healthy. And if you don’t get this through food, you can take supplements after consulting a doctor. That should not be a problem because a good serving of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will cover it.

Unfortunately, research shows that only 10-20 percent of adults get the recommended amount of vitamin C. You can’t really overdo it but if you are worried about that, make sure you don’t take more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C every day. But specifically, here’s the range in which you should take vitamin C:

  • 0 to 6 months, it’s 40 mg a day.
  • 7 to 12 months, it’s 50 mg a day.
  • 1 to 3 years, it’s 15 mg a day.
  • 4 to 8 years, it’s 25 mg a day.
  • 9 to 13 years, it’s 45 mg a day.
  • Girls or women from 14 to 18 years should take 65 mg a day.
  • Boys or men from 14 to 18 years should take 75 mg a day. 
  • Women above the age of 19 should take 75 mg a day.
  • Men above the age of 19 should take 90 mg a day.

Side Effects Of Vitamin C

Now, there are no side effects to taking vitamin C itself because it is a natural vitamin that the body needs. But you can take too much of it and get into trouble. Now, we don’t really measure all the food we eat.

So, in case you are not sure how much vitamin C you are consuming, you might want to check the symptoms of overdoing it. Here’s what that looks like.

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Excess absorption of iron (in individuals with preexisting medical conditions)
  • Reduction in levels of copper and vitamin B12

Excess vitamin C might also react with certain medications which is why you should consult a doctor before deciding a schedule. This is particularly a concern among individuals who are in chemotherapy or radiation therapy.


Vitamin C For Health: Summing Up

Now we know that the human body cannot synthesize vitamin C. We also know that it is easily available in the many foods that we consume on a daily basis.

We are aware of the amount of vitamin C we must give our body every day. And we are also clear about the risks of taking too much of it. And in case you are not sure, you still know what the symptoms of overdoing it are.

Rosemary Richards
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