Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

The body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal. In addition, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.

How much vitamin C do I need?
The amount of vitamin C you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts for different ages are listed below in milligrams (mg).
Life Stage     Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months     40 mg
Infants 7–12 months     50 mg
Children 1–3 years     15 mg
Children 4–8 years     25 mg
Children 9–13 years     45 mg
Teens 14–18 years (boys)     75 mg
Teens 14–18 years (girls)     65 mg
Adults (men)     90 mg
Adults (women)     75 mg
Pregnant teens     80 mg
Pregnant women     85 mg
Breastfeeding teens     115 mg
Breastfeeding women     120 mg

If you smoke, add 35 mg to the above values to calculate your total daily recommended amount.

What foods provide vitamin C?
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin C by eating a variety of foods including the following:

    Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, as well as red and green pepper and kiwifruit, which have a lot of vitamin C.
    Other fruits and vegetables—such as broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes—which also have vitamin C.
    Some foods and beverages that are fortified with vitamin C. To find out if vitamin C has been added to a food product, check the product labels.

The vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming or microwaving may lessen cooking losses. Fortunately, many of the best food sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, are usually eaten raw.

What kinds of vitamin C dietary supplements are available?
Most multivitamins have vitamin C. Vitamin C is also available alone as a dietary supplement or in combination with other nutrients. The vitamin C in dietary supplements is usually in the form of ascorbic acid, but some supplements have other forms, such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, other mineral ascorbates, and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids. Research has not shown that any form of vitamin C is better than the other forms.

Am I getting enough vitamin C?
Most people in the United States get enough vitamin C from foods and beverages. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin C:

    People who smoke and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, in part because smoke increases the amount of vitamin C that the body needs to repair damage caused by free radicals. People who smoke need 35 mg more vitamin C per day than nonsmokers.
    Infants who are fed evaporated or boiled cow’s milk, because cow’s milk has very little vitamin C and heat can destroy vitamin C. Cow’s milk is not recommended for infants under 1 year of age. Breast milk and infant formula have adequate amounts of vitamin C.
    People who eat a very limited variety of food.
    People with certain medical conditions such as severe malabsorption, some types of cancer, and kidney disease requiring hemodialysis.
 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 14:13