Vitamin C – What It Does and It’s Benefits
Everyone has heard of vitamin C but not everyone knows about how it works and what it does to our bodies.
The first thing to know about vitamin C is that it is water-soluble. Which means leftover amounts will pass body through urine because the body is not able to produce or store vitamin C on its own. The best way to obtain vitamin C is through a diet of fruits and vegetables. Preferably raw and fresh since vitamin C levels will begin to diminish after the fruit has left the plant. Although there are vitamin C supplements, doctors recommend getting all the needed vitamin through a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
What Does Vitamin C Do?
Vitamin C is best known to help form and maintain connective tissues, bones, blood vessels, and skin. It also helps heal wounds and forms scar tissue along with maintaining and repairing cartilage and teeth. Vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron and can prevent the infamous deficiency known as scurvy. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. Which means it helps the body counteract with free radicals. Free radicals are simply molecules with high oxygen levels and cause oxidative damage to the body. Much like how rust appears on iron when exposed to the oxygen in water. Antioxidants help reverse this process in the body. Since antioxidants counteract free radicals, scientists believe a diet high of antioxidants can help prevent cancers, heart disease, arthritis and even slow the aging process.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
The amount of vitamin C needed for the body has many contributing factors. Woman tend to need more then men. Children need less while adults need more. Pregnant or breasting feeding woman need even more plus your own genetic code may aid or hinder your vitamin absorption rate.
The National Institute for Health recommends these daily doses:
If you smoke, NIH suggests you add 35 mg to the suggested dose.
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 6 months||40 mg|
|Infants 7–12 months||50 mg|
|Children 1–3 years||15 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||25 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||45 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (boys)||75 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years (girls)||65 mg|
|Adults (men)||90 mg|
|Adults (women)||75 mg|
|Pregnant teens||80 mg|
|Pregnant women||85 mg|
|Breastfeeding teens||115 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||120 mg|
Too Much and Too Little…
Like most things in life, its bad to have too much vitamin C or too little.
Vitamin C deficiency, in severe cases known as scurvy, can cause these symptoms:Fatigue, depression, and connective tissue defects such as gingivitis, petechiae, rash, internal bleeding, impaired wound healing. In infants and children, growth impairment is more severe.
Most unwanted vitamin C gets flushed out of the body from urine. Its very unlikely for higher doses to be harmful but “mega” doses, such as 2000mg or more for adults a day, can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Its not unusual for adults to take between 500-1000mg tablets of vitamin C supplements, which isn’t necessary and doctors are unsure if these doses can cause harm to the body.
Be sure to take your vitamins recommended for your body to live a healthy life.