An essential nutrient, (meaning you have to eat it because your body can not produce it) needed for tissue formation and maintenance (such as keeping blood vessels, muscles, bones and cartilage in good repair), healing process. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant that boosts the immune system and has links to reduce the likelihood of heart disease, cancer and the absorption and storage of iron.
How often do I need it?
All vitamins and minerals should be taken on a daily basis. Some can be stored in the body because they are fat soluble and can be stored in fat cells for later use. However, vitamin C is water soluble, meaning it cannot be stored in the body. Typically, the best source of vitamin C comes from fruit and vegetables which typically have a high water content. Vitamin C in excess will be carried out of the body via water and urine.
Widely promoted as a health benefit, vitamin C tablets and supplements are marketed as a health benefit. In reality, humans have never required vitamin C supplementation unless they either have a condition that effects their vitamin C levels (such as gastro-intestinal disease, other conditions that lead on to malabsorption such as Rickets, Beriberi and Pellagra) or a lack of fruit and vegetables in their diet. Just eating moderate or daily amounts of fruits and vegetables will fulfill your daily quota of vitamin C. See list below for top foods for vitamin C.
Deficiency is rare. The days of square rigging sailors suffering Scurvy came about from very long periods at sea with no fresh or stored fruits and vegetables and living off bread, porridge, damper and limited salted meats and fish, are over. Now a days we can supplement if needed and long periods at sea are very rare as we have refrigeration. However, it doesn’t leave out impoverishment and poor diet choices, and rare cases are still reported. In a modern western society we have every opportunity to avoid deficiency.
Overdose is very rare by natural sources of food. Supplementing in tablet form over time can escalate from nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, headache to kidney stones. High vitamin C intake can also have interactions with other medications (consult your pharmacist). You may end up peeing yellow or orange if you daily consumption of vitamin C is in excess of your body’s needs. The same can be said for pee colour if you consume too much vitamin A beta carotene and B group vitamins. That being said, if you have prolonged orange pee over many days it could be other under lying conditions such as a liver problem (jaundice). Consult your physician if you are concerned.
Best foods for vitamin C
(all daily intake percentage)
- 1/2 cup of Red Capsicum – 150%+
- 1 medium Green Capsicum – 100%+
- 1 medium Naval Orange – 150%
- 1/2 cup Broccoli (cooked) – 85%
- 1/2 cup Strawberries – 80%
- 1/2 cup Brussel Sprouts – 80%
Note: Vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat. Natural fresh, uncooked plant sources are the best. The more you cook or put under heat or store the food the less vitamin C content will remain.
- Coach Stephen