What Is Vitamin C? How To Choose Vitamin C Supplements? A Professional Nutritionist Guides What Is The Best Choice For Vitamin C?


What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It is essential for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. Vitamin C is involved in many body functions, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.


As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect cells from damage, supports the immune system, and promotes healthy skin. Since the human body cannot produce vitamin C on its own, it must be obtained through the diet or supplements. Good food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruits), strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes.


A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a disease characterized by fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, and a rash on the legs. To prevent deficiencies, it's important to consume an adequate amount of vitamin C through a balanced diet or supplements if recommended by a healthcare professional.


What are the effects of Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has several important effects on the human body:


  1. Antioxidant Properties:

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, meaning it helps protect cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supporting overall health.


  1. Boosts the Immune System:

Vitamin C enhances the immune system by stimulating the production and function of white blood cells, which help the body fight infections and illnesses. It is often used to prevent and treat colds and flu.


  1. Collagen Synthesis:

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that forms the basis for skin, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues. Adequate vitamin C is necessary for wound healing and maintaining healthy skin.


  1. Aids in Iron Absorption:

Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-heme iron (the type of iron found in plant-based foods) from the digestive tract. This is particularly beneficial for individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets.


  1. May Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases:

Some studies suggest that vitamin C intake is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, certain cancers, and eye conditions like cataracts.


  1. Supports Brain Health:

Vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, which are essential for brain function. Adequate vitamin C levels may support cognitive function and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders.


It's important to note that while vitamin C offers numerous health benefits, excessive intake can lead to adverse effects, such as digestive issues. It's best to obtain vitamin C through a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, or as recommended by a healthcare provider in the form of supplements.



What will happen if I take too much vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. But you can get too much of it.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that supports growth and development. It also helps your body absorb iron. Because your body doesn't make or store vitamin C, it's important to include vitamin C in your diet.

Most people can get enough vitamin C for the day in their food. An orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper or broccoli provides enough vitamin C for the day.


The recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 75 milligrams (mg) a day for women and 90 mg a day for men. During pregnancy, 120 mg a day are recommended. The upper limit for all adults is 2,000 mg a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, large doses of vitamin C supplements might cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach (abdominal) cramps
  • Headache

Remember, for most people, a healthy diet provides enough vitamin C.


What happens if I have too little vitamin C?

A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to a condition called scurvy. Scurvy is a rare but potentially serious disease caused by insufficient vitamin C intake over an extended period. Here are some of the symptoms and effects of a vitamin C deficiency:

  1. Fatigue:

Vitamin C deficiency can cause weakness and fatigue.

  1. Joint and Muscle Aches:

Individuals with scurvy often experience joint and muscle pain.

  1. Swollen, Bleeding Gums:

One of the hallmark symptoms of scurvy is bleeding and inflamed gums. The gums may appear purple or spongy.

  1. Skin Problems:

Scurvy can cause rough, dry, and scaly skin. Small, red or purple spots can appear on the skin.

  1. Anemia:

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition where the body lacks enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues.

  1. Impaired Wound Healing:

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in wound healing. A deficiency can lead to delayed wound healing and increased susceptibility to infections.

  1. Weakened Immune System:

Insufficient vitamin C can impair the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections.

  1. Depression and Irritability:

Some studies suggest a link between vitamin C deficiency and mood disturbances, including depression and irritability.


It's important to note that severe vitamin C deficiency leading to scurvy is rare in developed countries due to the availability of vitamin C-rich foods. Common sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits), strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and broccoli. Maintaining a balanced and varied diet that includes fruits and vegetables can help prevent vitamin C deficiency. If you suspect a deficiency or have symptoms, it's essential to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment.


What is the rich source of vitamin C?

Many fruits are rich in vitamin C. Here are some examples of fruits that are excellent sources of vitamin C:


1. Oranges:

Oranges and other citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons, and limes are well-known for their high vitamin C content.


2. Strawberries:

Strawberries are not only delicious but also packed with vitamin C.


3. Kiwi:

Kiwi fruit is exceptionally high in vitamin C and provides other essential nutrients as well.


4. Guava:

Guava is a tropical fruit that contains a significant amount of vitamin C.


5. Papaya:

Papaya is another tropical fruit rich in vitamin C, along with other beneficial enzymes and vitamins.


6. Mango:

Mangoes are not only tasty but also a good source of vitamin C.


7. Pineapple:

Pineapple contains vitamin C and other enzymes that contribute to its nutritional value.


8. Berries:

Besides strawberries, other berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries also contain vitamin C, although in slightly lower amounts compared to some other fruits.


Including a variety of these fruits in your diet can help you meet your daily vitamin C requirements and provide other essential nutrients for overall health and well-being.


Who should take Vitamin C Supplements?

Vitamin C supplements can be beneficial for various individuals, especially those who have specific dietary restrictions, health conditions, or lifestyles that may affect their vitamin C intake. Here are some groups of people who might consider taking vitamin C supplements:


  1. Individuals with Limited Fruit and Vegetable Intake:

If you have a diet low in fruits and vegetables, which are natural sources of vitamin C, you might benefit from a vitamin C supplement to ensure you meet your daily requirements.


  1. Smokers:

Smoking increases the body's need for vitamin C. Smokers are advised to consume extra vitamin C to counteract the oxidative stress caused by smoking.


  1. People with Certain Medical Conditions:

Certain medical conditions, such as malabsorption disorders, certain types of cancer, or kidney disease, may interfere with the absorption or utilization of vitamin C. In such cases, doctors might recommend supplements.


  1. Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women:

Pregnant and breastfeeding women have higher nutritional needs, and vitamin C is important for both the mother's health and the development of the baby.


  1. Older Adults:

As people age, their bodies may absorb nutrients less efficiently. Vitamin C supplementation can help older adults maintain adequate levels of this essential nutrient.


  1. Individuals with Weakened Immune Systems:

Vitamin C is known for its immune-boosting properties. People with weakened immune systems might consider supplements, especially during the cold and flu season.


  1. Vegetarians and Vegans:

Individuals following strict vegetarian or vegan diets might have limited sources of vitamin C in their diet, as many natural sources are animal-based. A supplement can help them meet their vitamin C requirements.


Before starting any supplement, including vitamin C, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have underlying health conditions or concerns about your nutrient intake. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and circumstances.


The Forgotten Story of Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It is essential for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C endogenously, making it a vital nutrient that needs to be obtained through diet or supplements.


The story of vitamin C dates back to the 18th century when sailors on long sea voyages suffered from a disease called scurvy. Symptoms of scurvy include fatigue, swollen and bleeding gums, joint pain, and anemia. In the 1740s, British naval surgeon James Lind conducted experiments and discovered that sailors who consumed citrus fruits like lemons and oranges showed significant improvement in their symptoms. This observation led to the understanding that citrus fruits contained a substance that could prevent and cure scurvy.


In the early 20th century, Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi isolated pure crystalline ascorbic acid, identifying it as the active component in citrus fruits that prevented scurvy. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937 for his work on vitamin C.


Vitamin C is not only essential for preventing scurvy but also plays a vital role in collagen synthesis, which is crucial for wound healing, blood vessel health, and maintaining the integrity of skin, bones, and teeth. It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from oxidative stress and supporting the immune system.


Natural sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits), strawberries, kiwi, guava, broccoli, bell peppers, and spinach. While a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can provide adequate vitamin C for most people, some individuals may need supplements to meet their nutritional requirements.


Today, vitamin C supplements are widely available and used to support overall health, boost the immune system, and prevent vitamin C deficiency-related diseases like scurvy. It continues to be a fundamental nutrient in human nutrition, contributing to overall well-being and vitality.


Added to Cart
Shopping Cart Updated
Network error, please try again!