Information about Vitamin C
Vitamin C (often referred to as Ascorbic acid) plays an important role in the body being strong and healthy. It is water soluble, which means it does not depend of fat for absorption into the body. This vitamin is not stored by the body, so it must be consumed on a daily basis to maintain the optimum level for health. Any unused amount will be excreted from the body through urine.
Function of Vitamin C in the Body
The body needs Ascorbic acid for various tissues to grow and the repair of said tissues. C is needed to produce the protein that makes up the ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin contain in and on the body. This vitamin also speeds healing of wounds. It also helps to maintain and repair bones, teeth, and cartilage.
Vitamin C also is one of a number of antioxidants important for the body’s health. Antioxidants ward off the free radicals that can cause diseases and other health issues to happen in the body. These could range from heart disease to cancer. Free radicals are a naturally occurring byproduct of the body converting food for us in the body or by exposing the body to harmful elements such as smoking tobacco products or to radiation. When free radicals are allowed to build up in the body, they can also cause the aging process to accelerate. The body’s immune system is fortified, when adequate amounts of C are included in the diet. It can help shorten the length of colds.
Food Sources of Ascorbic Acid
Many foods can provide Vitamin C to the body. These include such fruits and vegetables as listed below:
- Green peppers
- Red peppers
- Brussels sprouts
The above is a partial list as other fruits and vegetables also provide the body with this important vitamin. In addition, certain foods and beverages are fortified with C.
Side Effects from too Much Ascorbic Acid
There are very few side effects from consuming too much C, because the body cannot store it. However, if a person has more that about 2,000mg per day it could cause diarrhea and an upset stomach.
Side Effects of a Deficiency of Vitamin C
If the body does not get adequate amounts of C on a regular basis, it could suffer from the following problems:
- Bleeding gums
- Reduced ability to overcome infection
- Slowed healing rate for wounds
- Dry, unhealthy hair
- Skin will easily bruise
- Slowed metabolism, which could lead to weight gain
- Painful and swollen joints
- Weakened tooth enamel
- Dry, rough, scaly skin
The Daily-Recommended Intake of Vitamin C
The daily-recommended intake of this vitamin is set according to age and it is as follows:
Infants 0 to 6 months of age should have 40mg each day, and infants 7 to 12 months of age need 50mg each day. Children 1 to 3 years of age need 15mg each day, 4 to 8 years of age need 25mg each day, and 9 to 13 years of age 45mg daily. Teen girls ages 14 to 18 years need 65mg daily, while teen boys 14 to 18 years need 75mg per day. Men 19 years and older need 90mg every day, and with women 19 years and older they need 75mg each day of Vitamin C.