Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

This water-soluble vitamin (meaning the body cannot store it for later use) is available is many citrus foods and plays a vital role in the immune system.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) benefits

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is required by the body to make collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters. Collagen is essential to promote the healing of wounds. Vitamin C is also known as an antioxidant which offers numerous health benefits. With regards to the role vitamin C (ascorbic acid) plays as an antioxidant as well its role in the immune system, it is often promoted as a way to prevent and/or treat various medical conditions.

While there is no conclusive data, it is suggested that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can play a part in the prevention of cancer, be used to treat patients who have cancer, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, slow age-related macular degeneration and development of cataracts, and most commonly, used to treat and/or prevent the common cold.

Sources of vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

The most recognized source of vitamin C (ascobic acid) is orange juice. An even better source of vitamin C (ascobic acid) are sweet red peppers (raw), with an extra 2mg per serving over orange juice. Other great sources include oranges, grapefruit juice, kiwi, green peppers, broccoli, strawberries, Brussles sprouts, grapefruit, and broccoli.

Recommended amounts

Set forth by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are below (some individuals may be placed on a plan that requires higher than normal amounts to manage a specific issue they may be experiencing).

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin C (ascobric acid)1
Age Amount
0-6 months 40mg/day (adequate intake)
7-12 months 50mg/day (adequate intake)
1-3 years 15mg/day
4-8 years 25mg/day
9-13 years 45mg/day
Males 14-18 years 75mg/day
Females 14-18 years 65mg/day
Pregnant Females 14-18 years 80mg/day
Nursing Females 14-18 years 115mg/day
Males 19+ years 90mg/day
Female 19+ years 75mg/day
Pregnant Females 19+ years 85mg/day
Nursing Females 19+ years 120mg/day
Note: Smokers require an additional 35mg/day of vitamin C than nonsmokers due to oxidative stress experienced by smokers.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency

The main outcome of a vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency is a condition called scurvy. Until it was discovered in the mid 1700's that citrus fruits or juices could cure it, it claimed many lives. Initial symptoms of a vitamin C (ascorbic acid) deficiency are fatigue, confusion, and inflammation of the gums. This deficiency is rare and the daily intake must fall below 10mg/day for many weeks for symptoms to occur.

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