Sophie's World Blog

What we need to know about Vitamin C

What we need to know about Vitamin C

Everyone knows what Vitamin C is, and almost everyone takes it either in form of supplements or from food sources. It's good to know that the average daily need can be covered by food sources, especially raw food since heating damages this vitamin. Taking it daily as a supplement decreases it's effect, it's better to boost the body with a bigger amount only when it's needed for fighting an illness. In this case, we can eat as much healthy grapefruit or yellow pepper as we want, we hardly can overdose on it, as it's water soluble and the surplus leaves the body.

How much Vitamin C do we need?

Vitamin C or ascorbic-acid is a powerful antioxidant for our body. As it’s a water-soluble vitamin, the daily intake is essential. Some animals can make their own vitamin C, but people must get it from food and other sources.

We need an average of 70-90mg per day (adult). Some people may need extra vitamin C: smokers, those who consume alcohol regularly, people taking medications regularly, those recovering from surgery, burn victims, and people who suffer from stress regularly. All of them may benefit from taking adequate or slightly higher than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

What food to eat?

Good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, greens, black currants, mangoes, kiwi, strawberries, cantaloupe, cabbage, and surprisingly, potatoes. Some juices and cereals have added vitamin C, check the label on them! It’s important that these food sources contain the Vitamin C. They're best if they are raw. Try to eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables daily to get enough Vitamin C.

Vitamin C can also be made in a laboratory, to use as component in dietary supplements.

What helps to absorb Vitamin C?

Eating the food sources of Vitamin C absolutely raw!

Freshly squeezed orange juice or fresh frozen concentrate is better than ready-to-drink orange juice, because the fresh juice contains a more active vitamin C. Drink fresh frozen orange juice within one week after reconstituting it. If you prefer ready-to-drink orange juice, buy it 3 to 4 weeks before the expiration date, and drink it within one week of opening. When you buy fruits and vegetables, try to choose the best quality and I don’t mean finding them in a shop, but to find the organic goods from real, well-known people with real gardens in your local living region. Harvesting industrial goods in large amounts doesn’t make their quality best, especially when they’re from another continent.

Boiling, steaming, or any process that is working with heat destroys C Vitamin in the ingredients, and as a water-soluble vitamin, it easily absorbed in the boiling water before we could consume it.

What is Vitamin C in the body for?

Vitamin C is involved in a large number of biological processes, making it essential for health. It plays an important role in maintaining proper immunity function. As an antioxidant it helps protect cells from free radicals, helping prevent cancer, or at least have a good effect of lowering the chances of getting it. Our body uses this vitamin to make collagen, which helps wound healing, and makes the skin, joints and bones strong.

The body utilizes vitamin C by maintaining activity of the white blood cells. In addition, Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from diseases.

Vitamin C is used most often for preventing and treating the common cold. It might be used for infections as gum disease, acne and other skin infections, bronchitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), stomach ulcers, tuberculosis, and dysentery (an infection of the lower intestine). It is also used for infections of the bladder and prostate. It’s good for depression, thinking problems, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, physical and mental stress, fatigue, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is used for hardening of the arteries, preventing clots in veins and arteries, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, glaucoma, preventing cataracts, preventing gallbladder disease, dental cavities (caries), constipation, Lyme disease, hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, infertility, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), autism, collagen disorders, arthritis and bursitis, back pain and disc swelling, cancer, and osteoporosis. It may improve physical endurance and slow aging, as well as counteracting the side effects of cortisone and related drugs, and aiding drug withdrawal in addiction. Some people put vitamin C on their skin to protect it against the sun, pollutants, and other environmental hazards, but on sensitive skin it may cause burning wounds. In medication, Vitamin C is applied to the skin to help with damage from radiation therapy.

Is too much Vitamin C dangerous?

Deficiency of Vitamin C increases the possibility of getting scurvy. The original use of this vitamin was to prevent this illness in the early centuries, and it’s still an effective treatment against scurvy which causes fatigue, inflammation of the gums, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing, and corkscrew hairs.

Does pregnancy increase the need for Vitamin C?

Yes. During pregnancy and lactation term, more Vitamin C is needed. The average of 70 mg/day increases to 85mg for the time of pregnancy, and to 120 mg/day for the lactation term. Babies need Vitamin C too, the easiest way to support them is breastfeeding, thus the mother needs more of this vitamin.

About Vitamin C supplements

Most experts recommend getting vitamin C from a diet that's high in fruits and vegetables rather than taking supplements. I agree with that, but I think due to our environmental circumstances, we need more antioxidants to help our body’s fight against free radicals. This amount of Vitamin C is not easy to get only from food, in addition there are researches that prove that an orange nowadays contains a lot less C Vitamin than in prior years.

Best Vitamin C-based dishes:

  • grapefruit salad with honey
  • red shot



Copyright: Zsófia Michelin-Corporatum Oy, Content pictures copyrigh: Shutterstock, Development: e-Com