Active8 Supplement Articles

Vitamin C

Jul 20, 2016 | by: Team A8

What is Vitamin C and what's it do?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. Once in the body it acts as an antioxidant meaning it helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. The body produces free radicals when it is converting food into energy, there are also outside sources of free radicals that our bodies are exposed to like cigarette smoke, air pollution and ultraviolet light from the sun.

Vitamin C also helps the body produce collagen which is a protein required to help heal wounds. Lastly, Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from plant based food and more importantly helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from diseases.

What foods provide Vitamin C?

Vegetables and fruits are the best natural sources of Vitamin C. You can get your recommended dose by just eating a variety of the following foods

  • Citrus Fruits (oranges & grapefruits are the best)
  • Red and Green peppers
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Baked potatoes
  • Tomatoes

Also note that the Vitamin C content in foods may be reduced due to prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming or microwaving may lesson cooking losses. Best fruits and vegetable sources are those that can be eaten raw.  

How much Vitamin C do I need?

The amount of Vitamin C needed daily is based on age, see chart below;

AGE

RECOMMENDED AMOUNT (in milligrams)

Birth – 6 months

40mg

Infants 7 – 12 months

50mg

Children 1 – 3 years

15mg

Children 4 – 8 years

25mg

Children 9 – 13 years

45mg

Teens 14 – 18 years (BOYS)

75mg

Teens 14 – 18 years (GIRLS)

65mg

Adult (MEN)

90mg

Adult (WOMEN)

75mg

Pregnant women

85mg

Breastfeeding women

120mg

 

How do I know if I am getting enough Vitamin C?

Most people get the recommended amount of Vitamin C from the foods they eat and from some beverages they drink. However, there are certain groups of people who are more likely not to meet this amount; People who smoke or people who are around second hand smoke. People who eat a limited variety of foods. People with certain medical conditions such as severe malabsorption, some types of cancers and kidney disease.

What kind of Vitamin C supplements are there?

You can either get a Vitamin C supplement by itself or you could take a multivitamin as they will have the recommended daily amount in them. If you decide to take it by itself you will see a few different forms such as; ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids. Research has not shown that one of these is any better than the other, just check the bottle for if they supplement is a capsule or tablet as some people prefer one over another.

What happens if I don’t get enough Vitamin C?

Vitamin C deficiency is very rare in Canada but if by chance someone did get lower than about 10mg a day they may develop scurvy. Scurvy causes fatigue, inflammation of the gums, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing and depression.

Other than a stronger immune system, what are some other health benefits from Vitamin C?

Some research has shown Vitamin C to...  

  • Prevent and treat Cancer
  • Lower peoples risk of certain cancers like lung, breast and colon.
  • Prevent Cardiovascular disease
  • Prevent Age-related macular degeneration and Cataracts from worsening.
  • Preventing and lessoning the duration of the common cold

Can taking too much Vitamin C be harmful?

Taking too much Vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps.

Will Vitamin C interact with any medications?

There is always a chance that supplements will interact with prescription medications that is why it important to let your doctor or pharmacist know about any supplements you may be taking.