What Does Vitamin C Do for You?
Vitamin C, also referred to as L-ascorbic acid, is naturally present in a variety of foods, but it also comes in a supplement form. While some animals can create their own vitamin C, humans cannot. Instead, we have to get this vitamin from the foods that we eat.
This is one of the many reasons it’s so important to eat a well-balanced diet. Although this vitamin isn’t naturally present in our bodies, we still rely on it to perform many functions. This isn’t just a supplement that makes us feel good (although it certainly can!), but it is something our body requires.
Understanding vitamin C and the impact it has our bodies will ensure that we consume the proper amount.
Food Sources for Vitamin C
First, it’s important to understand the food sources that include it. There are a variety of foods that contain this necessary vitamin so even the pickiest eaters are sure to find something that they can enjoy.
Common vitamin-infused foods include:
- Citrus fruits
- Brussels sprouts
Most people consume enough of the listed foods to reach the adequate daily intake of vitamin C. Some diseases make it difficult for individuals to absorb the vitamin. Instead, they may take a daily supplement in conjunction with eating a balanced diet.
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
L-ascorbic acid helps the body in many ways that you may not realize. Common health benefits include:
- Assists with the body’s healing process
- Helps protect the body against free radicals
- Increases iron absorption
- Helps boost the immune system
- Improves mental issue such as depression or symptoms of ADHD
- Prevents clots in veins and arteries
- Helps prevent a variety of diseases, such as gallbladder disease
- Can be used to protect the skin from sun damage
As you can see, the benefits of consuming the recommended dosage of Vitamin C can be very beneficial for your health. The recommended dosage is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women.
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Vitamin C Deficiency
Not only are you more susceptible to sickness and other health ailments, but a vitamin C deficiency is also far-reaching.
Fortunately, most people get the recommended dosage through a balanced diet. However, if a person’s intake falls under 10 milligrams per day, then they are considered L-ascorbic acid deficient.
Such deficiency can lead to scurvy, although this is very uncommon in developed countries. However, be aware that this deficiency can still occur in individuals who have a limited food source or do not eat a balanced diet.
Interactions with Other Medications
Unfortunately, vitamin C may have a negative impact on other medications.
It’s important for you to be aware of potential issues should you be taking any of the following medications. If you have any concerns, you should discuss with your medical provider.
- Chemotherapy. Because this vitamin is considered an antioxidant, it may have an adverse effect on chemotherapy medications. It could make the drug less effective.
- Estrogen. Estrogen levels may increase if you take this vitamin in conjunction with contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
- Aluminum. Vitamin C can actually increase the absorption of aluminum in medications that have low levels of aluminum in them. This can lead to kidney problems.
- Protease Inhibitors. Vitamin C can sometimes reduce the effectiveness of this type of medication.
How Much Is Too Much Vitamin C?
Can there be too much of a good thing? Vitamin C is required for the body to function properly, but there can be adverse effects if too much of the vitamin is consumed. While high intake results in low toxicity, the side effects are generally mild.
Common symptoms of too much vitamin C include:
However, there are more serious links to consuming higher doses of this vitamin. Studies indicate that vitamin C intake outside the recommended daily dose may be the reason for elevated cardiovascular mortality in women.
However, this evidence only presented itself in a single study and it is unclear of its significance.
The Bottom Line...
Vitamin C is a critical component of proper bodily function along with other vitamins–like vitamin b12 and vitamin D–and minerals like magnesium. It’s something that every single human being needs and it is best to consume it through a balanced diet rather than via supplement.
Most healthy people in developed countries do not have to worry if their level is appropriate. However, if you have questions or concerns, then you should discuss this with your family doctor.