Importance and Dietary Intake Recommendations of Vitamin C

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Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that has a lot of functions. This vitamin is found in foods like broccoli, tomatoes and citrus fruits.

This vitamin is important for the growth as well as repair of tissues all over the body. This is also important in the production of collagen. Collagen is an important protein that helps form the skin, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and the blood vessels. You will also need vitamin C for the healing of wounds as well as for repairing and maintain teeth and bones.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant just like beta-carotene, vitamin E and many other nutrients that are plant based. Antioxidants can help block damages caused by free radicals. Free radicals can damage the DNA. These substances often build up over time which contributes to the aging process as well as the development of certain health conditions like arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin C Deficiency

While it may rare to have a deficiency of this vitamin, there are evidence that shows that may people may actually have low levels of this vitamin. In fact, people who smoke cigarettes have lower levels of this vitamin in their body. They are at risk of vitamin C deficiency.

There are several signs of vitamin C deficiency like gingivitis or the inflammation of the gums, dry and splitting hair, rough and dry skin, and bleeding gums. Easy bruising and nosebleeds are signs of vitamin C deficiency. Decrease wound healing rate and decreased ability to fight infection are also signs of low levels of vitamin C in the blood. In severe cases, scurvy can develop. This condition is characterized by swollen and bleeding gums and opening of previously healed wound.

Causes of Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency may be caused by a number of conditions like gallbladder disease, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, stroke, and atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. To avoid the development of these health conditions, vitamin C intake must be taken into considered. You can take vitamin C through eating the right kinds of food that contain this vitamin.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin C

Fruits and vegetables are rich in Vitamin C. Excellent sources of this vitamin include green peppers, oranges, papaya, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, tomatoes, broccoli, mango, cauliflower, and cabbage. Citrus juices are also excellent sources of vitamin C.

Leafy vegetables like spinach, turnips, red and green peppers, potatoes, winter squash and fresh tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C. Raspberries, cranberries, blueberries and pineapple are also good sources of this vitamin.

Since this vitamin is sensitive to heat, light and air, you will be able to get the most of this vitamin if you eat fruits and vegetables that are raw or perhaps lightly cooked.

Vitamin C is also available in other forms. This vitamin can be purchased in natural or synthetic preparations in various forms. You can find tablets and capsules of this vitamin. Vitamin C also comes in powdered crystalline form and liquid forms.

Vitamin C Dosing and Timing

When taking vitamin C supplements, it is recommended to take the vitamin two to three times in a day. You should also take the vitamin with meals. The dosing of this vitamin C will depend on several factors. Some studies, however, suggest that adults should take 250mg to 300mg if this vitamin twice a day.

Health experts recommend that 40 mg of this vitamin should be taken by newborns from zero to six months. Infants who are already six months to 12 months old should take 50mg of this vitamin. Children who are one to three years old should take 15mg of vitamin C. On the other hand, children who are four to eight years old should take 25mg of vitamin C while children who are nine to 13 years old should take 45mg of vitamin C. Adolescent girls who are 14 years old to 18 years should take 65mg of this vitamin while boys of the same age should take 75mg of vitamin C.

In adults, men who are over 18 years old need 90mg of this vitamin while women of the same age need 75mg of this vitamin. Pregnant women should take about 80mg to 85mg of vitamin C. Breastfeeding mothers need 115mg to 120mg of vitamin C.

Since smoking cigarettes can actually reduce vitamin C, smokers need an additional of 35mg of vitamin C every day.

Taking vitamin C supplementations should only be done under the supervision of a health care provider. Vitamin C supplementations have a diuretic effect. Thus, you need to take plenty of fluids while taking vitamin C supplements, as this can rid the body of excess fluids and may cause mild dehydration symptoms.

Protect Yourself from the Following Conditions by Taking Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays an important role in protecting the body against several conditions. For instance, vitamin C is helpful in the prevention of heart attack and stroke. While this vitamin may not lower cholesterol levels, taking ample amounts of this vitamin can reduce the risk of heart attack. In addition, there are also studies that show that vitamin C can delay the progression of atherosclerosis.

People who eat foods that are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C have a lower risk of high blood pressure. Basically, eating foods that are rich in vitamin C is important in maintaining overall health, especially if you are already at risk for hypertension or high blood pressure.

Taking sufficient amounts of vitamin C can also boost one’s immune system. Thus, this can help protect against infection and common health conditions like a common cold. Eating foods that are high in vitamin C is also associated with lower cancer rates. However, further studies still need to be conducted concerning this claim.

Aside from these health conditions, taking vitamin C supplements can help maintain healthy gums, improve vision, heal wounds and burns, alleviate dry mouth cause by antidepressant medications, treat allergy related conditions like asthma and eczema, boost the immune system and reduce sun-induced skin damages.

 

References:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Vitamin-C.aspx

https://medlineplus.gov/vitaminc.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-vitamin-c

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