Vitamin C What is it?
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an essential micronutrient for the proper functioning of the body. Including foods rich in vitamin C is necessary to produce hormones, strengthen the immune system, and improve the absorption of microminerals such as iron (1).
Also, foods rich in vitamin C help promote collagen synthesis. As if that were not enough, some studies claim that they can reduce the hard times. (3)
Because it is a powerful antioxidant agent, another of the functions of vitamin C is the prevention of degenerative diseases and decreasing the probability of contracting certain types of cancer. A chronic lack of foods rich in vitamin C leads to a severe illness known as scurvy.
Humans have to consume foods rich in vitamin C
In some animals (for example, cats), vitamin C is synthesized from glucose. (6) However, humans cannot synthesize vitamin C. Therefore, this vitamin must be ingested yes or yes through foods rich in vitamin C.
The human body needs this vitamin to transform glucose into muscle glycogen—the central energy reserve to perform movements. When a person does not include foods rich in vitamin C, not only does the skin dry out. The brain’s cognitive functions fail, and exercise becomes more difficult.
Vitamin C – Recommended amount per day.
The following list details the recommended dose of vitamin C per day. Values vary by gender and age. In addition, if the person is a smoker, 35 mg should be added to the values in the following list.
- Babies up to 6 months of age 40 mg
- Babies 7 to 12 months of age 50 mg
- Children 1 to 3 years of age 15 mg
- Children 4-8 years of age 25 mg
- Minors between 9 to 13 years of age 45 mg
- Adolescents (males) 14 to 18 years of age 75 mg
- Adolescents (girls) 14 to 18 years of age 65 mg
- Adult men 90 mg
- Adult women 75 mg
- Pregnant teens 80 mg
- Pregnant women 85 mg
- Adolescents in lactation 115 mg
- Lactating women 120 mg
The recommended amount of vitamin C. Source
Maximum vitamin C
The maximum recommended daily vitamin C is about 2-3 g / day. Secondary symptoms such as digestion disorders may appear when this amount is higher. In addition, it is known that increasing the amount of vitamin C can lead to the formation of diseases in the kidney.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin (soluble in water) and can be easily eliminated in the urine. However, excess vitamin C in the body increases the number of oxalates. A molecule directly related to the formation of stones in the kidney. (9)
To avoid the symptoms of a lack of vitamin C, it is best to consume foods rich in vitamin C regularly and moderately.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C – Complete List
It is common knowledge that citrus fruits (grapefruit, orange, lemon) are foods rich in vitamin C. However, some berries ( cherries, blueberries, strawberries) and certain vegetables (pepper) surpass citrus fruits in vitamin C content.
When it comes to poisoning, there is no need to worry; an excess due to food is unlikely. 3000 mg of vitamin C is equivalent to one kilogram of wild rose berries and 6 kg of oranges or lemons. In the case of supplements, you have to be careful since a box of tablets is enough.
Citrus fruits are not the only foods with vitamin C
The following table lists a list of foods rich in vitamin C. It is essential to know that ascorbic acid degrades in heat (8). Therefore, it is advisable to include the following foods in their raw or steamed form:
Table of foods rich in vitamin C
|Food||Vitamina C / 100 g.||% covered (Adults)|
|Berries – rosehip||450-600 mg||500-600%|
|Red peppers||180-250 mg||200-300%|
|Black currant||180-200 mg||200-250%|
|Green peppers||130-150 mg||130-170%|
|Strawberries and blueberries||50-60 mg||45-55%|
|Oranges and grapefruits||50-60 mg||45-55%|
|Pineapple, melon, apples||15-20 mg||10-15%|
Lack of Foods Rich in Vitamin C – Symptoms
It is essential to distinguish between mild and acute vitamin C deficiency. When the fault is critical, and for long periods, the disease of scurvy develops. Although this type of chronic deficit is not common in today’s societies, it was a severe problem in ancient times. (In particular in sailors).
In contrast, mild vitamin C deficiency is common. This is aggravated by drinking alcohol, smoking, and some infections.
The most common symptoms of mild vitamin C deficiency are:
- Slow wound healing
- Dry Skin
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Weakness of the immune system
- Chronic fatigue
- Anemia or iron deficiency
When the lack of vitamin C is severe, scrobut disease develops. A common condition among Spanish and Portuguese sailors in times of colonization. After spending up to 6 months without arriving at any port on an oat-based diet. Sailors died. The symptoms of scrobuto are (2):
- Bleeding gums
- Petechiae or spots on the skin
- Carton skin
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Internal hemorrhages
A curious fact is that laziness was considered pro-scorbutic; when circumstances allowed it, the captains made their sailors dance on deck to prevent this disease. (2) After several food tests, the lack of vitamin C was corrected by including one orange and two lemons in the diet. This historical event has made the role of vitamin C in the body very clear.
Vitamin C and sport
Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of carnitine, a molecule responsible for transporting fats into cells. It is also believed that vitamin C effectively reduces muscle recovery times and increases the number of times you can train per week.
Including foods rich in vitamin C is essential for developing strength and improving the process of muscle contraction. – In long sessions of cardiovascular exercises, it acts as an anti-fatigue molecule and even reduces the oxidative processes of cortisol.
Is vitamin C good for colds?
A study published by the MDPI (8) suggests that supplementation with 200 mg of vitamin C is effective in reducing the time of colds, as well as in the incidence of them. However, the same study concludes that there is still research to be done to confirm this fact.
What is known with certainty is that the lack of vitamin C in the diet leads to a decrease in the body’s defenses. However, current research is not yet conclusive on the effects of vitamin C on colds. (8) (7) In any case, the amount of vitamin C should be covered daily to prevent the immune system from dropping.
As well as the benefits of vitamin C in the prevention of pneumonia have been proven. People who received vitamin C treatments had an 80% lower incidence of said infection. (8)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential micronutrient in nutrition. The recommended daily allowance is 75 – 90 mg daily for the average adult.
- The primary function of vitamin C is to improve the immune system, absorb micronutrients, and maintain the skin’s health.
- Ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C is associated with a lower probability of having cancer.
- Combining foods rich in vitamin C with foods with iron is an excellent strategy to improve the absorption of this mineral.
- Treatments with vitamin C reduce getting pneumonia by up to 80%. Studies of the effects of ascorbic acid in reducing the time of colds are not yet conclusive.
- Citrus fruits are not the only foods rich in vitamin C; berries and vegetables, such as peppers and broccoli, have higher ascorbic acid.
- Lack of vitamin C in the body causes all kinds of symptoms. The skin becomes dry when mild, and the immune system weakens. In acute cases, it can cause bleeding and even death.