There are thousands of studies discussing vitamin C – we know quite a bit about this vitamin, but it’s always worth reviewing the latest scientific information.
How many of us are reminded to drink/eat plenty oranges when we’ve got a cold – but did you know orange isn’t the best source of vitamin C, others are better. Here’s a list of the best food sources of vitamin C:
- 141mg – 1/2 cup red pepper
- 70mg – 1 medium orange
- 58mg – 1/2 cup cooked broccoli
- 50mg – 1/2 cup orange juice
- 41mg – 1/2 cup strawberries
- 40mg – 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
- 26mg – medium size bake potato baked
- 23mg – medium sized tomato
We can’t make our own vitamin C so we need to get it from our diet, and as it’s water soluble it means we don’t store it so we need to consume it regularly.
It’s important for formation of collagen – who doesn’t want younger looking skin? Vitamin C helps collagen to form and is also involved in blood vessels, tendons, and ligaments. It may also be helpful converting cholesterol to bile acids which is important for proper digestive function.
It’s also one of the major antioxidants which help keep us young – protecting our DNA from toxins e.g. smoking. It’s also great are helping to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E. You may not have realised but it was this humble vitamin which banished scurvy (bruising easily, bleeding gums, losing teeth, hair loss).
Large doses of vitamin C have been found to reduce the severity and duration of colds (Johnson CS 1994).
The most common form of vitamin C supplement is Ascorbic Acid which can be quite acidic to the digestive system for some people. Magnesium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate are gentler forms of vitamin C.
According to NHS, adults (aged 19-64) need 40mg day, 0-10 year olds 30mg day, and 11-18 year olds 35mg day. Taking less than 1,000mg day is unlikely to cause any harm.
In very large doses vitamin C can have dangerous effects including, diarrhoea, birth defects, cancer, kidney stones, excess iron absorption, B12 deficiency, erosion of teeth enamel.
Some medications can also lower vitamin C levels including; oestrogen containing contraception medication, frequent aspirin digestion. Caution also with blood thinning medication such as Warfarin.
Higdon, J. An Evidence Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals. 2003.