If you have read a lot of health advice, you have probably heard a lot about vitamin C.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is needed for many reactions within the body. It is a water-soluble vitamin, so it dissolves in water and is excreted in the urine. Most other animals are able to manufacture vitamin C in their livers. However, humans are not capable of making it internally. Many foods contain vitamin C, especially brightly colored vegetables like bell peppers and citrus fruits.
The human body constantly needs a new supply of vitamin C because it does not make or store nutrients. The best way to get vitamin C is through food or supplements. Though common at low levels, vitamin C deficiency is rare in severe form (scurvy) in modern times.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help protect the body from free radical damage. This text talks about the benefits of antioxidants on a practical level. Some of the benefits include protecting cellular health, reducing the effects of aging, and boosting the immune system.
I first learned about the benefits of vitamin C in high school when I had to do a research paper on Dr. Linus Pauling. Dr. Linus Pauling is a Nobel Prize-winning chemist who is considered one of the fathers of biochemistry. He devoted much of his professional life to investigating vitamin C and even authored several books on the vitamin’s influence on well-being. A lot of what we currently know about this vital vitamin is thanks to his work.
How Much Vitamin C Do We Need?
Now, things are going to get hairy. This question can be challenging to answer due to people’s differing opinions. The answer also changes based on the time period being referenced.
There is a lot of disagreement among experts about what is best for our health. The answer likely depends on the individual.
For many people, it is likely possible to get enough vitamin C from rich food sources like certain fruits and vegetables. Some supplements contain only whole-food sources of vitamin C, which can benefit those who want to increase their vitamin C intake slightly.
According to research, people with certain conditions may benefit from extra vitamin C, either in the form of a supplement or intravenously. Some doctors are experimenting with high doses of IV medication to help recover from serious illnesses, surgery, and cancer.
Linus Pauling was known to take a high dosage of Vitamin C every day and lived until he was 93 years old. Around a third of people don’t have enough vitamin C in their bodies, so it’s essential to take supplements. But you need to make sure you’re taking the right kind!
Benefits of Vitamin C
Research indicates that vitamin C may help protect against various health problems, including heart disease, stroke, cancers, and cataracts. More and more research is proving the benefits of optimal amounts of vitamin C.Studies have shown that vitamin C can help protect against heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and cataracts. Here are the main health benefits of vitamin C according to current medical research:
- Boosts the Immune System
Perhaps the most well-known benefit, and with good reason. When treating someone for a cold or the flu, I always give them extra vitamin C. People debate whether this is truly a benefit. Several reviews of randomized controlled data found little to no effect of vitamin C supplementation on colds. The majority of these studies examined either low doses or the impact once someone has a cold.
Other studies show that taking larger doses of vitamin C before getting sick can be beneficial. One study found that taking 8 grams of ascorbic acid on the first day of cold symptoms reduced the severity and length of the cold. A large dose of this medicine may cause bowel tolerance, resulting in diarrhea for a few hours.
I begin each day by juicing one lemon into the water. This provides me with about 30 mg of vitamin C. I take a food-based vitamin C supplement daily. I also take more significant doses of ascorbic acid during stress or illness.
- Supports the Brain
Although many people take vitamin C for its well-known benefits, there are other lesser-known benefits of this nutrient. Vitamin C is an integral part of my daily routine because it provides my body with many essential nutrients.
The brain can maintain high levels of vitamin C, even when other body parts are deficient in this nutrient. The brain often has a 100x concentration as the rest of the body.
Vitamin C helps the brain in several important ways:
- reduces reactive oxygen species and protects against neural damage
- promotes the healthy development of neurons and supports the formation of myelin
- supports optimal neurotransmitter production
- leads to the expression of BDNF (brain-derived-neurotropic-factor)
- may even help avoid Alzheimer’s Disease, according to recent studies
- Fights Oxidative Damage in the Body
As you probably know, free radicals and oxidative damage are not good.
Vitamin C can help reduce the risk of disease and improve lifespan because it is a powerful antioxidant. It reduces oxidative damage and removes harmful free radicals from the body.
In particular, studies have found that vitamin c is most effective in reducing lung damage. RDA guidelines recommend that smokers consume more vitamin C than non-smokers. Ascorbic acid can also help protect against oxidative damage when used with cancer treatments.
A healthy diet rich in vitamin C and occasional supplements will help keep inflammation at bay for those of us who don’t smoke or have cancer.
- Boosts Mood and Libido
I find that I am happier and feel better when I get enough vitamin C. This is not the time to discuss vitamin D., But science supports my anecdotal finding…
A severe deficiency of vitamin C has been linked to emotional instability and anxiety in studies. In one study, people who had an adequate water intake saw a 35% reduction in mood disturbances and increased oxytocin levels. Another study found that taking 3,000 mg of a supplement each day increased libido.
One more reason to add lemon water to your morning routine!
- Promotes a Healthy Heart
Although more research needs to be done, some evidence suggests that diets with lots of vitamin C may help protect against heart disease and stroke. It makes sense that vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables since consuming these are good for the heart.
Vitamin C may help increase HDL cholesterol levels, which is the “good” type of cholesterol, and reduce the amount of small particles LDL, which is the “bad” type of cholesterol. Recent research has found that vitamin C may help reduce arterial plaque and strengthen blood vessels.
- Boosts Collagen Production and Improves Skin
Both internal and topical vitamin C can help improve collagen production and skin health.
Vitamin C helps to keep collagen stable and improves connective tissue in the whole body; this includes the skin and bones. Many beauty products contain retinol because it causes the skin to produce more collagen. The benefits of exercise go beyond just weight loss and improving fitness levels; it has been shown to slow the aging process by enhancing the body’s collagen levels.
Topical treatments that have been clinically shown to be effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and sun spots. I added a little ascorbic acid powder to my face wash. I also make a facial serum for additional skin benefits.
- Supports the Adrenals
I also increase my intake of Vitamin C when I’m stressed because it is directly used by the adrenal glands.
Vitamin C is necessary for maintaining healthy levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is found in high concentrations in the adrenal glands. It can become rapidly depleted during times of stress.
The Best Vitamin C Sources
Many people don’t have an issue getting adequate vitamin C every day because it is naturally present in many foods, including healthy ones that we eat often.
This text discusses the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adult men is 90 milligrams, and the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adult women is 65 milligrams.
Although it is not necessary, it is beneficial to be aware of the food items that are highest in vitamin C in case you ever need them. So let’s get into it.
Just one small navel orange has all the vitamin C you need in a day. One small navel orange contains all the vitamin C you need daily. A medium-sized orange contains approximately 70 mg of vitamin C, while a grapefruit contains approximately 88 mg. A mandarin contains approximately 24 mg of vitamin C, and lime contains approximately 13 mg.
Lemons are a good source of vitamin C. The average whole lemon, with peel, contains more than 80 mg of vitamin C. Although the peel of a lemon is not typically eaten, the juice of a lemon contains 38 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams.
Vitamin C is found in many citrus fruits, especially oranges and lemons.
Despite not being commonly thought of as a source of Vitamin C, strawberries actually contain a comparable amount of the nutrient as oranges and lemons.
Kiwis have 71 mg of vitamin C per fruit. Keep in mind that despite what some people might say, grapefruits are not citrus fruits. This is because grapefruits contain citrus acid.
Acerola cherries have an exceptionally high concentration of vitamin C, with 1644 mg in just one cup. We recommend that you take small portions of [the supplement] daily to reach your recommended intake.
Guavas are exceptionally high in vitamin C, containing 126 mg in a single fruit. This is almost 1.5 times the recommended daily intake. A small amount of guava is all that is needed to fulfill a young person’s daily requirement of vitamin C.
This is the part of the article where we talk about how good vegetables are for you and how you should try to eat them every day. Vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and are good for you.
We’ll discuss the cruciferous vegetables that you read about often, and hopefully, we can persuade you to start consuming them if you’re not already!
A cup of raw kale has more than twice the amount of vitamin C than a cup of cooked kale. We recommend you cook your kale for maximum benefit, as cooking it preserves more of the antioxidants.
One cup of Brussels sprouts contains 98 mg of vitamin C, while a cup of cooked broccoli contains 102 mg.
You should try to get mustard spinach if you can because it contains a lot of vitamin C. A cup of cooked mustard spinach has 117 mg of vitamin C, which is more than the amount that most people need every day.
Some herbs contain high levels of vitamin C. Herbs are a great way to get an extra boost of vitamin C in your diet.
This means that if you eat one ounce of parsley, you are consuming about 38% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Thyme is rich in vitamin C, more so than any other culinary herb. One ounce of thyme provides approximately half the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Just a few tablespoons of thyme can help improve your immune system.
If you’re unable to reach your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, you can supplement your diet with a vitamin C supplement.
Organic supplements are the best because they are pure and provide nutrients. Ethical Nutrition Co. uses organic acerola cherry powder to provide vitamin C.
We were discussing how one cup of acerola cherries contains over 1600 mg of vitamin C. This food has been turned into an organic powder with no additives so that people can take it as a supplement without experiencing any side effects.
One daily dose of this product provides 250mg of vitamin C, well over the recommended daily intake and much lower than the dangerous limits, so you’re always in the ideal range.
We made our powder with natural vitamin C because it is better absorbed by the body than synthetic chemicals found in supplements.
How Much Vitamin C Is Too Much?
You need a lot of vitamin C and water to survive and live healthily. If you take more than the recommended daily dose, it will start to backfire.
You should consume a maximum of 1,000 mg of vitamin C to be safe, even though the recommended intake is 2,000 mg.
You may still be okay even if you consume more than the recommended amount. However, if you eat too much too quickly, you may experience digestive problems such as diarrhea, nausea, acid reflux, and vomiting, as well as heartburn.
Quick Guide to Vitamin C Supplementation
If supplements are your source of vitamin C, here is a guide on how much to take.
If your diet does not provide you with enough vitamin C, you should take supplements. Most people’s diets contain enough vitamin C, so they would not need to take supplements.
We recommend you take more than your daily intake of 100 mg if it’s possible and convenient.
Although the maximum recommended daily intake is 2,000 mg, we advise you not to exceed 1,000 mg to be safe.
Also, only take supplements that are pure or organic, so no additives, no sugar, and no preservatives. This means that you need to take care of your supplements and store them properly, so that they do not go bad.