Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid. It is one of the most essential nutrient for functioning of our body. Vitamin C is not only necessary for humans, but also for other spawning animals. This is the reason that it is necessary for us to consume fruits and vegetables or supplements rich in vitamin C.
To stay healthy, it is very important that you take the right quantity and take it at the right time.
WHAT IS VITAMIN C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, found naturally in certain foods such as, oranges and lemons. L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C is not formed in the body on its own, so it is replenished in the body through diet. You can also consume it as a dietary supplement. Vitamin C acts as a biosynthesis for collagen fibers. Collagen is the major structural protein in connective tissues. It makes up to 25-35% of the total protein need in our body.
It is the major component of the layer of bones, cartilage, tendons, skin, ligament and connective tissues. With aging, the skin loses its flexibility and strength, but vitamin-C gives strength and flexibility to the skin.
A total of 28 types of collagen fibers have been detected, but 90% of collagen present in the human body is of type-1 only. Since Vitamin C helps in making collagen fiber, it plays an important role in wound healing and tissue repair. It is a powerful antioxidant that enhances the function of other antioxidants in the body such as vitamin E, which reduces damage from free radicals.
It also improves absorption of non-heme iron, which is not easily absorbed iron from food. Apart from this, vitamin C also plays an important role in improving your immunity power.
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGHEST IN VITAMIN C?
Now the question is — What foods are highest in vitamin C and how can I get more vitamin C?
Citrus fruits are the best sources of Vitamin C; they are —
All the above foods supply vitamin C in our body. Apart from this, vitamin C is also found in pulses.
WHY DO WE NEED VITAMIN C?
Vitamin C plays an important role in normal body functioning. Daily intake of vitamin C helps our body to fight against diseases.
The main health benefits of vitamin C may include —
- It acts as a preservative in the body and protects cells from free radicals
- Boots immunity, which reduces the risk of cold, cough and other infections
- It helps in strengthening the blood vessels of the body
- Cholesterol levels can be kept under control by regular use of vitamin C
- Protects against many types of cancers
- Revitalizes the supply of vitamin E in the body
- Enhances the absorption capacity of iron
- It also acts as an anti-allergic and an anti-oxidant
- Helps to keep teeth, gums and eyes healthy
- Beneficial in healing wrinkles
- Unites the smallest cells in the body
- Helps to heal wounds
- Vitamin C, along with other nutrients like Vitamin A and Iron, enhances the body’s immunity and keeps the body healthy
- Vitamin C is soluble, so extra nutrients are easily passed out of the body through urination
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS FROM TAKING VITAMIN C?
Vitamin C is very beneficial for human body. But, when taking in excessive amount, it can be harmful. Symptoms may include :
- Stomach upset
- Kidney stones
WHAT HAPPENS IF VITAMIN C IS LOW?
Vitamin C boosts immunity power, due to which many diseases can be avoided. But, the lack of vitamin C, also called vitamin C deficiency, can cause many health effects, including —
- Cataracts in eyes
- Eye, ear and nose diseases
- Weakening of bones
- Weak digestion
- Loss of appetite
- Smelling of mouth
- Joint pain
- Leucorrhoea or licorice
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin disease
Frequent colds, weak immunity, tiredness, sudden weight loss, dry hair, hair fall, uneven skin tone, slow healing of wounds and dental problems are considered symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN C SHOULD I TAKE DAILY?
According to doctors, the daily requirement of vitamin C depends on many factors, such as age, gender and health status.
Here is how much vitamin C should be taken daily :
- An infant from birth to 6 months of age should take close to 40 mg
- Children aged 9 to 13 years should take close to 45 mg
- Men between 14 and 18 years old should take close to 75 mg
- Women aged 14 to 18 years should take close to 65 mg
- Men 19 to 50 years old should take close to 90 mg
- Women aged 19 to 50 years should take close to 75 mg
- Pregnant women should take close to 85 mg
- A breastfeeding woman should take close to 120 mg
Vitamin C along with other nutrients such as, vitamin A and Iron boosts body’s immunity and keeps it healthy. All the major organs of our body like brain, lungs and kidneys etc. need vitamin C to work properly. Vitamin C is soluble, so excess nutrients are easily passed out of the body via urine. Cold, weak immunity, tiredness, sudden weight loss, dry hair, hair fall, uneven skin tone, slow healing of wounds and dental problems are considered symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.
To know the right amount of it in products you consume, always read the level of vitamin C before purchasing. To get the maximum benefits of this vitamin, eat only raw fruits and vegetables. You can also take vitamin C in the form of supplements. But consume it only with the advice of a doctor, because excessive intake of it causes a risk of stomach upset, nausea, or increase in uric acid in the body.