What is Vitamin C
Did you know that most animals can “make” their own Vitamin C? Did you also know that, unlike animals, we human beings can’t make Vitamin C on our own? Yet we need Vitamin C to ensure good health! Such is the reason it is known as an “essential vitamin”, as many sailors of old can testify to as they perished from Scurvy, a disease resulting from a lack of Vitamin C.
:by Joseph Nykoluk
Vitamin C is such an important vitamin that it is used in over 300 bodily functions any of which can affect our health in any number of ways.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, meaning it inhibits the oxidation of other molecules in the body. It’s like applying rust paint on a metal surface. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals. These free radicals lead to other chain reactions that can adversely affect other cells.
Also known as L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and as such is available in a number of foods, some of which are listed below. If not readily available in your favorite food items, Vitamin C can also be found fortified into other foods and are also available as supplements.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Of all the vitamins and supplements to take Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients you can take according to WebMD.com. Vitamin C has received so much research attention that the benefits of this powerhouse vitamin are numerous and continue to grow. As such, you are encouraged to do more research on your own.
Because there are so many studies on Vitamin C, there are major benefits that have earned Vitamin C its’ Powerhouse status, benefits such as Vitamin C’s role against:
Cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases: – Because vitamin c is a strong antioxidant, it boosts our immune system by protecting our body’s cells from free radicals.
High Blood Pressure: – Studies have shown that vitamin c lowers blood pressure in adults with both normal and high blood pressure levels.
Cancer: – Although possibilities for the power that Vitamin C has against cancer are there, much research still needs to be done and therapy involving Vitamin C is not yet ready. Having said that, much evidence suggests that the more fruits and vegetables we eat the lower the risk of cancer we are liable to get, probably due to their high Vitamin C content. Vitamin C seems to limit the formation of carcinogens.
Stroke: – Known as “bleeding in the brain”, people are more at risk of suffering the consequences of a stroke the lower the levels of Vitamin C in their blood, according a small study by French researches. Another study suggests that even a 1/2 glass of orange juice a day can be enough to prevent a stroke from happening.
Prenatal Health Complications: – According to the World Health Organization “Current evidence does not support the routine use of vitamin C supplementation during pregnancy.” And yet the National Institute of Health says that “Vitamin C supplementation may help reduce the risk of pregnancy complications…”.
As already mentioned, Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and all humans need it to be healthy, even in the womb. As such, you must also beware of being Vitamin C deficient. Recently, research at the University of Copenhagen revealed that maternal Vitamin C deficiency during pregnancy can have serious consequences for the fetal brain.
Eye Problems: – Age related macular degeneration and cataracts that many people suffer from as they get older. Because it is thought that oxidative stress is involved in both of these eye afflictions, researchers think that Vitamin C as well as other antioxidants might play a role in developing treatments for these diseases. Some research has found that higher intakes of Vitamin C and other antioxidant nutrients reduced the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Vitamin C Recommended Dosage
The good thing about Vitamin C is that is water soluble. As such taking too much Vitamin C will simply be eliminated through your urine, so suffering from a Vitamin C overdose is really quite rare.
For most of us, it is recommended that the vitamin c dosage average between around 75 and 125 milligrams per day. Recommended dosages for women are about 75 mg and men at about 90 mg. If you smoke add another 35 milligrams of vitamin C to your diet. Breastfeeding women may require the upper limit of vitamin c whereas younger adults require less.
Note that there is an upper limit to taking Vitamin C as well and it is recommended that you stay well below 2000 mg. of Vitamin C daily.
There is a great site for determining the vitamin c dosage for kids and adults at ConsumerLab.com. You can also find recommended dosages for other vitamins and minerals as well.
Vitamin C is so readily available in so many fruits and vegetables that there really is no excuse to be Vitamin C deficient. Yet, sad to say, many people still opt for too much junk food and not enough healthy foods like spinach, oranges and strawberries which have ample amounts of Vitamin C. Just one orange and a cup full of strawberries contains more than enough Vitamin C to meet your needs.
Vitamin C Foods
I for one am happy that my body is unable to synthesize Vitamin C on its own and that we need to get our supply of this essential nutrient from certain foods. These foods I’m talking about are, as if you didn’t know, fruits and vegetables of course and they are delicious. You should enjoy them daily as everyone should. Varying amounts of Vitamin C can be found in many foods besides just fruits and vegetables, but in reality they are the go to foods for this essential vitamin.
There are many vegetables and fruits that contain Vitamin C so the list below contains good sources of Vitamin C that is also more readily available in your general supermarket.
Oranges: – Depending on the size of the orange, these delicious fruits can deliver between 60 and 120 milligrams of vitamin C. They can be found in virtually every supermarket around the world and are enjoyed by most of us. Oranges are where most people get most of their Vitamin C from. Oranges may not have as much Vitamin C content as some other fruits, like strawberries and guava, but because they are so readily available all year round, it is listed first here.
Kiwi Fruit: –
Chili Peppers: –
Sweet Red, Yellow or Green Peppers: –
Brussels Sprouts: –
Vitamin C in Meat
Cooked animal meats contain many essential vitamins as well as minerals that we already eat daily. However, Vitamin C is not one of them. Except for some raw meats like liver, eggs and possibly fish roe, there just isn’t enough Vitamin C in meat products to provide us with much benefit. Because we need Vitamin C to maintain good health, we need to supplement our diet by eating healthy portions of fruits and vegetables as well as supplements.