Vitamin C | Are You Getting Enough?

Vitamin C food concept | Image by Gargonia

Ask any toothless pirate suffering from scurvy in the 17th century. Vitamin C is important to maintaining our health.

Of course, the risk of being vitamin C deficient today might pale in comparison to hundreds of years ago among sailors at sea. Nevertheless, it is a rising concern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Americans aren’t getting enough essential vitamins and minerals overall.

Poor nutrition, as its website states, is fueling the country’s obesity epidemic and costing nearly $173 billion a year in health care. With obesity affecting 20% of Americans aged 2 to 19 years and 42% of adults, a large share of the country is at greater risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer.

A diet that is too high in sodium and suboptimal in micronutrients is to blame, per the CDC.

Vitamin C is among the most important micronutrients needed for the body to function well.

“Vitamin C has multiple important roles including maintaining strong tissues and immunity,” Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told USA Today. The body needs it to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in the bones.

It also acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect blood cells against disease, radiation from the sun, and free radicals.

Vitamin C also helps the body absorb and store iron.

Iron is a mineral that is essential for growth and development, yet one in six pregnant women in the U.S. is currently deficient in it, according to the CDC.

As if its physical benefits weren’t enough, studies have shown that vitamin C can improve our moods and make us more attentive.

As Dr. Uma Naidoo, the director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, explained to USA Today, vitamin C produces “neurotransmitters in the brain, which govern mood and cognition,” thereby promoting better psychological health.

Exactly how much vitamin C is needed to be healthy has been a matter of some debate. Studies from the 1940s had led to the World Health Organization suggesting 45 mg a day until this was recently challenged for being too low.

Now, men are advised to take 90 mg daily, and women to take 75 mg. These amounts should be augmented by 35 mg for smokers.

The good news is that it is hard to take too much vitamin C since it is water-soluble, making “symptoms of toxicity … very rare,” Naidoo told USA Today.

Inadequate vitamin C levels, on the other hand, can lead to severe health problems such as bleeding gums, fatigue, joint pain, bruising, and slow wound healing. Furthermore, individuals who are deficient in vitamin C have a higher risk of developing infections.

Vitamin C is present in a number of fruits and vegetables.

While citrus fruits are definitely the most well-known sources, Brussels sprouts and broccoli also contain high amounts. A single cup serving of broccoli contains 80 milligrams of the nutrient, while the same amount of Brussels sprouts has nearly 75 milligrams.

Other foods rich in vitamin C are berries, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, parsley, kale, and spinach.

Some people might opt for oral supplementation to ensure they are getting the recommended dose.

It is likely well worth it to do so, as scientific studies indicate that the regular intake of vitamin C supplements can raise the levels of blood antioxidants by up to 30%, which aids the body in combating inflammation.

Some studies have also found that regular doses of vitamin C may help in managing high blood pressure and reducing the likelihood of heart disease.

Time-release capsules offer small jolts of vitamin C throughout the day. But there are many different types of supplements available on the market today.

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1 Comment

  1. ThisGuyisTom

    Like the article points out, taking Vitamin C periodically throughout the day is smart.

    A very popular treatment offered by well informed integrative Medical Doctors in the Dallas area is Vitamin C IV Therapy. A bag of Vitamin C is introduced intravenously (IV) into the body like a person would receive plasma/blood.
    I have friends and close relatives who have done this, and have watched the procedure.
    It can help boost the body’s system in any number of ways, and can help fend off infections or help with body repair.
    There are some astounding success stories.
    For example: Via YouTube, an Australia news program documents about how a father was brought out of a coma with Vit C Therapy.

    Dr Paul Marik used the Vit C IV therapy to save the lives of many patients who were suffering from a sepsis infection. His hospital nurses were estatic at the results.

    White blood cell count can increase significantly when a person orally takes 10,000+ mg daily for at least 3 consecutive days.
    (White blood cells often produce hydrogen peroxide to fend off foreign invaders.)
    Large doses of Vitamin C is considered an “oxidative therapy”.
    There are other types of oxidative therapies.


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