Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. This essential vitamin is water-soluble and is naturally present in many fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and serves several critical roles in the body. We need it for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, some neurotransmitters, and protein metabolism. Because our body can not store vitamin C, one must take it through diet or dietary supplements.
Vitamin C Foods
These are some vitamin C rich foods that one must include in daily diet.
- Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, grapefruit and mosambi
- Bell Peppers
Vitamin C Benefits
These are how vitamin C tablets or foods can benefit us.
- Powerful antioxidant: The potent antioxidant properties of Vitamin C protect our healthy cells and organs from the damaging effect of oxidative stress; inflammation and help improve the skin’s barriers.
- Support immunity: Vitamin C encourages the production of white blood cells, which help protect the body against infection and strengthen the immune system.
- Boost collagen production: Vitamin C is required to synthesize collagen – a connective tissue that keeps our ligaments, tendons, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and bones strong.
- Healthy heart: Adequate vitamin C intake is associated with healthy heart functioning. Some studies found that people who consumed vitamin C supplements had better blood cholesterol levels and were less likely to develop heart diseases.
- Promote iron absorption: If you are iron deficient, prefer taking iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C as it can help improve the absorption of iron from the diet. As per some studies, 100 mg of vitamin C intake may improve iron absorption by 67%.
- Speed up wound healing: People with a low intake of vitamin C may experience slower wound healing, as the body cannot produce enough collagen.
- Help reduce uric acid levels: Several studies have shown that vitamin C may help flush out excess uric acid from the body and protect against gout attacks.
Vitamin C Deficiency
The deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy. Although vitamin C deficiency is rare, the chances increase during the following conditions:
- Inadequate diet.
- Health conditions like leaky gut and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- Substance abuse.
These are some vitamin C deficiency symptoms:
- Bleeding gums.
- Delayed wound healing.
- Poor skin health.
- Skin rashes.
- Hair fall.
- Weakness and fatigue.
- Brittle nails.
- Weak immune health.
- Acne and skin rash.
Vitamin C Dosage
Vitamin C daily requirement is different for men and women. As per ICMR, men needs 80 mg, and women need 65 mg of vitamin C per day. This requirement increases during the pregnancy and lactation phase.
One can take vitamin C supplements to meet daily needs. Although vitamin C toxicity is rare, there could be mild effects.
Common vitamin C side effects include abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, nausea and cramps. Since vitamin C enhances iron absorption, individuals with conditions that increase the risk of iron accumulation in the body should be cautious with vitamin C supplements. Excess intake of vitamin C can increase the amount of oxalate in the urine, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones.
To sum up, vitamin C is essentially required by our body. It possesses strong antioxidant properties and plays a significant role in controlling infections; maintaining healthy bones, skin and cartilage. Therefore it is necessary to keep adequate dietary intake of vitamin C. If you prefer taking vitamin C supplements, it is advisable to check with a healthcare professional to ensure they are safe to use.