Why Is Vitamin C Important To Your Body?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-resoluble vitamin that your body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is essential for your immune system and as an antioxidant, it helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Furthermore, it helps your body absorb and store iron.
There are theories out there claiming Vitamin C’s effectiveness in fighting the common cold, cancer and some eye diseases. These theories are, unfortunately, not sufficiently backed with scientific proofs.
Where do I get it?
Your body can not produce vitamin C and therefore you need to get it from your diet. Some of the best sources of vitamin C are from vegetables such as peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Fruits are also a great source, in particular kiwi, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
How much do I need?
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adults is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. Most people get enough vitamin C from a balanced diet. For example, you only need a cup of strawberries or 1.5 kiwi get the recommended daily amount. Because of this there is no need for taking supplements. People with gastrointestinal conditions and some types of cancer might be at higher risk to vitamin C deficiency and could benefit from the use of oral supplements. Vitamin C when taken in high amounts can cause kidney stones in some people. Long- term use of oral vitamin C supplements over 2-3 grams a day will increases the risk of significant side effects.
What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin C
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Vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy. Currently scurvy is extremely rare in the United States. Those who don’t include enough fruits and vegetables in their diet are at risk. Symptoms may not occur for a few months after a person’s dietary intake of vitamin C drops too low. Bruising, bleeding gums, weakness, fatigue, and rash are among scurvy symptoms.