Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) | Deficiencies, Excesses, and Recommendations
Vitamin c is an important antioxidant that protects proteins, fats, carbohydrates and other important molecules from free radical damage. Vitamin c also helps other antioxidants, such as vitamin e, work more effectively. It also helps in the absorption of iron
Vitamin c is necessary for the formation of collagen, carnitine, and the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.
Vitamin c may have a positive impact on several components of the immune system..
Since humans do not have the ability to make vitamin c, it must be obtained through our diets.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin C?
The amount of vitamin c required to help prevent chronic disease is higher than the amount required for prevention of scurvy. The US RDA is based solely on the amount required to prevent scurvy. The Linus Pauling institute recommends at least 400 mg per day. R
- Fatigue, low mood
- Reduced immunity
- Hair abnormalities
- Slow healing of wounds
- Increased risk of infection
- Scurvy (bleeding, bruising, hair and tooth loss, joint pain and swelling)
Smokers are at greater risk of vitamin c deficiency as smoking directly lowers vitamin c levels in the blood while also changing individuals’ food preferences toward less vitamin c rich food. R
What Can Happen If I Get Too Much Vitamin C?
- May increase risk of kidney stones
- Large doses, followed by an abrupt decrease in intake, has the potential to cause symptoms similar to scurvy.
Vitamin C is believed to be fairly non-toxic, even in large doses. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends an upper limit of 2,000 mg.
Kiwifruit, strawberries and sweet red peppers are the most abundant sources of vitamin c. Citrus fruits also contain some vitamin c. Be certain to get plenty of these in your diet. Heat destroys the vitamin c content of food. Cooked fruits and vegetables will have lesser amounts of vitamin c.
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Potential Life Enhancements
- May reduce risk of gum disease
- May help protect memory and cognition
- May help prevent iron deficiency by improving iron absorption
- May help prevent gout attacks by reducing blood uric acid levels
- May enhance immunity by helping white blood cells function better
- May help in the healing of wounds, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels
- Higher vitamin c status is associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
- Consistent use of vitamin c supplements has been shown to shorten the duration of the common cold.