Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid or ascorbate, is an essential vitamin. This means that our body is not able to produce it but requires vitamin C for its various physiological functions, and has to be taken from various food sources.
Food sources of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables like oranges, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, kale, spinach and broccoli. Gooseberry is a mighty source of vitamin C. Some of the ready-to-eat products in the market, like cereals, contain fortified or added vitamin C. Check the labels for the contents to see if the daily requirements are met.
Vitamin C content in food can get diminished due to prolonged storage. Vitamin C is destroyed with cooking and therefore, fruits containing vitamin C should be consumed raw, without cooking.
Most vitamin supplements also contain vitamin C in their recommended dosages.
Recommended daily intake of vitamin C:
The following are the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C.
Smokers, both active and passive smokers, are at risk of vitamin C deficiency as the requirement for antioxidants in more for them. Infants who are fed with breastmilk or formula milk can get adequate doses of vitamin C, but those who have been given evaporated or boiled milk obtained from cows may not get enough as boiling milk destroys the vitamin C in it.
Eating a variety of foods that are seasonally and locally available is very important for adequate consumption of vitamin C.
Role of vitamin C in our body:
Vitamin C deficiency:
Scurvy is the most common condition caused by vitamin C deficiency. Symptoms of scurvy are:
Too Much of Vitamin C:
Taking excess of vitamin C is known to result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Other than that, vitamin C being a water-soluble vitamin, usually get washed away when in excess. People with a condition called hematochromatosis, storage of too much iron in the body, high doses of vitamin C can worsen the symptoms and cause damage to the tissues in the body.