In our series about vitamins and minerals, we have looked at vitamin A and all the B vitamins. Today, it’s vitamin C’s turn. Vitamin C is one of the most commonly taken vitamins and it is also one of the easiest to get in your diet… if you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many because of diets rich in processed foods and low on whole foods.
According to a report published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C should be raised, and we should all consume more foods rich in vitamin C. In fact, the scientists believe that the RDA of vitamin C should be more than doubled.
Currently, the RDA in the United States is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. The researchers call for raising it to 200 mg for adults. The current RDA is sufficient to prevent scurvy, but it may not be high enough to help reduce risk of chronic diseases such as stroke, cancer and heart disease. A diet higher in vitamin C may also help to prevent high blood pressure, chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), as well as boost immune response. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant but it cannot be made by the human body, so it is an essential dietary component, whether its intake is in the form of food or supplement.
Vitamin C is:
• Required for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters
• Involved in protein metabolism
• An important component of wound healing, since collagen is an essential component of connective tissue
• An important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E).
Who is at risk for low vitamin C levels?
• Elderly people
• Anyone with a highly processed diet.
Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, acerola (Barbados cherry), greens (such as kale, spinach, chard, arugula and collards), squash, tomatoes, and many types of berries.
If you find incorporating vitamin C-rich foods into your daily diet challenging, we can help you choose a supplement that is right for you. But it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare practitioner before taking a dietary supplement.
Photo from here, with thanks.