Vitamin C, also known as L-Ascorbic Acid or L-Ascorbate, is essential vitamin for humans and certain animal species. Acting as an antioxidant, it protects the body against oxidation, assists in several enzymatic reactions including collagen synthesis which can cause extreme symptoms of scurvy when dysfunctional. For animals, these reactions are essential for the healing of wounds and capillary bleeding prevention. Many mammals and plants produce this vitamin themselves, but humans do not nor do they store it which makes vitamin C rich foods important to include in your daily diet. This water soluble vitamin, all species need vitamin C as part of their diet for normal development and growth. Deficiency in this vitamin causes scurvy in humans, a condition known since ancient times, yet not isolated until 1932 and finally synthesized in 1934. Daily dose recommendations of vitamin C are debated and range from 45 Mg-95 Mg per day. Although there are studies suggesting that vitamin C prevents the common cold, it has no notable effect on the length or severity of this illness.
Vitamin C is needed to grow and repair all tissues in the body including the production of skin, scar tissue, ligaments, blood vessels and tendons. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It is also essential in wound- healing and the growth, repair and maintenance of teeth, bones and cartilage. A powerful antioxidant, it prevents and protects against free radical damage caused by UV rays, pollution and smoke. Vitamin C helps protect the immune system against illness and ward off infection, protect against stroke and heart attack, lower blood pressure and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, thin blood to protect against clotting, prevent onset of cardiovascular disease, prevents atherosclerosis and scurvy, protects against the common cold and strengthens the immune system.
There are many beauty benefits provided by vitamin C such as improving the tone and texture of the skin, revitalizing the skin and exfoliating the skin for brighter younger looking skin, prevents premature aging and wrinkles, protects against free radical damage caused by UVB rays and pollution, aids in collagen production, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, reduce acne and pore size, and prevents and treats skin discoloration.
Vitamin C is available in a variety of foods including but not limited to:
- Bell Pepper
- Brussel Sprouts
- Sweet Potato
- White Potatoes
Daily Dose Recommendation
- Infants: 0-6 Months 40 Mg/Day, 7-12 Months 50 Mg/Day
- Children: 1-3 Years 15 Mg/Day, 4-8 Years 25 Mg/Day, 9-13 Years 45 Mg/Day
- Adolescents: 14-18 Years (Girls) 65 Mg/Day, 14-18 Years (Boys) 75 Mg/Day
- Adults: 19+ years (Men) 90 Mg/Day, 19+ Years (Women) 75 Mg/Day
Smokers and Women who are pregnant or breast feeding will need higher amounts for their daily intake and should consult their physician for the correct daily recommended doses.
Since the body does not store vitamin C, toxicity is very rare. Daily doses of vitamin C higher than 2,000 Mg/Day are not recommended as they can cause diarrhea and upset stomach or stomach pains. Not enough vitamin C can lead to signs of deficiency which can include but are not limited to:
- Dry, Splitting Hair Follicles
- Dry, Rough Skin
- Easy Bruising
- Bleeding Gums
- Swelling & Joint Pain
- Weight Gain
The deficiency of vitamin C known as Scurvy most often only occurs in modern times in malnourished elderly adults.
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