Ascorbic acid: Learn All About Vitamin C.
Vitamin C; also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the better known vitamins that is readily available in many fruits and vegetables. While Vit C is readily absorbed by the body, our body does not produce or store this nutrient, so it is important to maintain an adequate intake on a daily basis.
Vitamin C is known for it’s importance in helping the body resist infections such as the common cold. Ascorbic acid also aids in collagen maintenance, wound healing, healthy gums and helps to strengthen blood vessels throughout the body.
Vitamin C can be found in most citrus fruits, berries, mangos, papayas and melons. Tomatoes, potatoes and green leafy vegetables also contain significant levels.
RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
The recommended daily intake for men and women is 45mg. The recommended dose for children aged 1-18 years ranges from 30mg to 40mg per day.
Food Portion Guide
Vitamin C is one of the most readily available nutrients. It is easy but also very important to ensure you are achieving your RDI by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. For example, just one orange can contain up to 75mg.
Possible Symptoms of Deficiency
Early warning symptoms of deficiency can be tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, fever with diarrhoea and easy bruising. Scurvy is a disease brought on by a severe deficiency of vitamin C. It can take just 4 weeks for symptoms of deficiency to become apparent and in severe cases symptoms can include loose teeth, bleeding into the skin, dry hair, dry skin turning brown and slow healing of wounds.
People that have eating disorders, smokers and diabetics are at higher risk and should consult their Doctor if any of the above symptoms are present. Treatment can be as easy as eating the recommended foods or by taking supplements but the cause should be addressed as a more serious health issue.
Possible Side Effects Of Overdose
Although too much dietary Vit C is unlikely to be harmful, over-the-counter supplements in excess doses may cause diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal bloating, cramps, headaches and insomnia. In severe cases of overdose, a person may develop kidney stones.
In summary, vitamin C plays a very important role in helping the body to maintain healthy cells and fight off infections. While adequate levels can be achieved through dietary intake it should be noted that prolonged storage or cooking may diminish the ascorbic acid levels found in some foods. As the body is unable to produce or store this nutrient, the body requires replacement of vitamin C levels on a daily basis for optimum function. As such, supplements are readily available and is it also included in most multi-vitamins that are available at the chemist or supermarket.
If you are concerned that your vitamin C levels are too high or too low, consult your local Doctor for further guidance.