Vitamin C – What it is, What it Does, and How to Get More of it

Vitamin C – Is Important To Your Health

When most people hear the words vitamin C, orange juice is the probably the first thing that comes to mind. While it’s true that orange juice is a source of C vitamins as well as other vitamins and nutrients, you can find it in a variety of foods and it has numerous health benefits. A deficiency of C-vitamins, or ascorbic acid, can negatively effect overall health.

A vitamin-fortified diet is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin, gums, and tendons. Vitamin C helps fight infection, and C-vitamins are necessary for wound healing as well. Studies on vitamins show that adequate C-vitamin intake can help prevent heart disease, cancer, cataracts and colds, just to name a few of the vitamin’s proven health benefits.

The recommended daily allowance of C vitamins for adults is 60mg, and infants need 35mg, while older children should be getting about 45mg of this vitamin daily.

Why You Should Get Plenty of Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron and other vitamins, slashes cholesterol levels, and relieves mild asthma. Newer vitamin studies have concluded that C-vitamins may help boost male fertility as well.

Lethargy, easy bruising, and pimples are all signs of possible C-vitamin deficiency. Senior citizens, athletes and convalescents would benefit from extra C-vitamin in the form of vitamin supplements. Smokers should get at least 40mg of C-vitamins daily above the average intake of this vitamin for healthy adults.

So consider taking vitamin C supplements if you fall into the above categories.

Vitamin C-Rich Fruits And Vegetables

Vitamin C, is essential for the body’s production of collagen. Collagen holds together cells in the skin, gums, and tendons. Vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron. Calcium and magnesium enhance the absorption of vitamin C. A variety of fruits and vegetables are rich dietary sources of vitamin C.

As mentioned, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 60mg, and those who are in good health and who eat a balanced diet rarely suffer a vitamin C deficiency. Though vitamin supplements and multi-vitamins are a source of vitamin C, the best source of the vitamin is through diet.

Oranges are perhaps the most well known vitamin C food source, but they don’t have the highest concentration of the vitamin. A 4oz serving of oranges has about 55mg of vitamin C. Whereas strawberries have about 77mg of vitamin C in a similar size serving.

Besides oranges, vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli and peppers. A 4oz serving of green peppers has about twice the RDA of vitamin C. Broccoli has about 87mg of the vitamin per serving.

Other vegetables with high vitamin C concentrations include cabbage, cauliflower and asparagus. Many cereals are also vitamin-fortified and are therefore another possible source.

Papayas are an excellent dietary source of the vitamin with nearly 60mg of the vitamin in an average 4oz. serving. That’s 100% of the recommended daily intake of this vitamin for an adult!

Guavas have the highest Vitamin C concentration with 230mg in an average 4oz serving, while a 4 oz serving of oranges has about 55mg of the vitamin. Black currants have the second highest concentration with about 200mg in an average serving.

Another thing to keep in mind about vitamin C food sources is how they are prepared for eating. If not prepared properly, food sources will not retain their full vitamin C content. Vitamin C content can also be lost during storage and cooking. The best way to retain the full vitamin C content of fruits and vegetables is to eat them raw and unpeeled whenever possible.

Since vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, fruits and vegetables should be cooked in their skins, in the least amount of water possible and for the shortest amount of time necessary. Refrigerated juices have their maximum Vitamin C concentration in the first 2-3 days. Food sources should be stored in airtight containers and they should not be stored in water or the vitamin C will start to dissolve.

In America the main dietary source of vitamin C is orange juice. In many tropical areas, guavas, papayas, and kiwis are the main vitamin C sources. Food and beverages made with vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables such as orange juice, stuffed peppers, and salad, should be a part of everyone’s food shopping list.

Supplementing With Vitamin C

Vitamin C Supplements – Good For Your Skin

Vitamin C is necessary for the body’s production of collagen which holds together cells in the skin, gums and tendons. Vitamin C also aids in wound healing and helps fight infection. There are several conditions that may be prevented or alleviated by a vitamin c supplement or a multi-vitamin containing vitamin C.

Studies suggest that extra vitamin C in the form of a supplement or a multi-vitamin can stave off certain diseases. Vitamin C supplements come in regular, time-release, and chewable tablets, syrup and powder form. Vitamin supplement powders can be mixed into water or fruit juices.

In one study of supplementary vitamin C, people with cataracts who took a 350 mg supplement of vitamin C daily showed marked improvement in eyesight.

In another study, people with chronic canker sores who took a 1,000-2000 mg daily supplement of vitamin C remained outbreak free over a period of several years. Similar dosages of vitamin C taken at the first sign of an outbreak can diminish the severity of the canker sores.

Vitamin supplements can be purchased in a wide variety of retailers, including department stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, health food stores, and online. Some supplement brand names with vitamin C product lines include EmerginC, Vitamin Shoppe, Cellex-C, Nature’s Way, Doctor’s Best, Health From the Sun, and Vitamin Power.

Of course, you should consult your physician before taking any supplement or multi-vitamin.

Vitamin C Powder – Good For Your Blood

Vitamin C also has anti-aging properties, may help prevent cataracts and aids in wound healing. Though vitamin C supplements also come in regular and chewable tablets as well as syrup forms, vitamin C powder is growing in popularity and may soon surpass all other forms of the vitamin’s supplements.

Vitamin C powders are useful for people who have difficulty swallowing vitamins in tablet or capsule form.

The powdered vitamin C supplement can be mixed with water, juice, and some foods. The powdered form of vitamin C comes in pure and buffered forms.

The pure form is just that, with it’s only ingredient being vitamin C. The buffered powder variety is recommended for those who don’t tolerate or absorb pure vitamin C well.

Since calcium and magnesium are known to help the absorption of vitamin C, buffered powders usually contain these two minerals. Buffered vitamin C supplements also sometimes contain potassium, cellulose and other ingredients.

There are several brands of powdered vitamin C supplements and they can be found in some supermarkets, department stores and health food stores, but perhaps their widest availability and variety is online. Some brand names of powdered Vitamin C include Source Naturals, Twin Lab, Natrol, Kal and Muscle Tech.

Vitamin C supplements in powder form can be found at the found at online stores such as Amazon.com, The Vitamin Bin, iHerb, Vitacost, Web Vitamins, and Nutricraze.

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