Vitamin C – Essential Benefits and Sources

Vitamin C is one of the most important micronutrients that plays an important role in many functions of the body. It regulates the functions of endocrine organs, liver, nervous system, and is also necessary for hormone synthesis and iron metabolism.

Vitamin C is necessary for the regeneration and renewal of bone and connective tissue, fighting the formation of free radicals.

It is one of the main antioxidants, so it plays a key role in defense against viruses and bacterial infections, supports the natural capabilities of the immune system.

Top 10 Food Sources of Vitamin C

The leaders in Vitamin C are not oranges and lemons, as many people believe. Here is a list of the record winners:

The Kakadu plum: is an Australian superfood that contains 100 times more vitamin C than oranges. It has the highest concentration of vitamin C of any known food – up to 2,907 mg per 100 grams (g).

Acerola (acerola cherry) or Barbados cherry: 50 g of red acerola cherries contain 825 mg of vitamin C, which is 916% of the daily value.

Rose hips: 100 g of rose hips provide 426 mg of vitamin C, or 473% of the norm.

Chili Peppers: One green chili pepper (Capsicum annuum) contains 109 mg of vitamin C, or 121% of the daily value.

Guava. One guava contains 125 mg of vitamin C, or 138% of the daily value.

Sweet yellow peppers.  One large yellow pepper contains 342 mg of vitamin C, or 380% of the required amount, which is more than twice the amount of vitamin C found in green peppers.

Black currants contain 160-285 mg per 100 g of ascorbic acid, so eating about 20 g of these berries provides the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C.

Parsley. Who would have thought that parsley would surpass citrus fruits in terms of Vitamin C content? 100 grams of fresh parsley contains 133 mg of Vitamin C.

Kale: 100g serving of raw kale contains 93mg of vitamin C, or 103% of the daily value.

Kiwi. One medium kiwi contains 56 mg of vitamin C, or 62% of the daily value.

In comparison, 100 grams of orange contains only 52 grams of Vitamin C.

Role of Vitamin C

  • A natural and powerful antioxidant
  • Fights infections by producing antibodies
  • Essential for maintaining healthy teeth, gums, bones, cartilage
  • Produces collagen, a protein that is essential for connective tissues and wound healing
  • Helps process L-carnitine, a chemical that helps turn fat into energy
  • Helps transmit signals through the nervous system

Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin C

The recommended amount of Vitamin C depends on your age and how much Vitamin C you get from food. If you consume vitamin C in moderation, your body will absorb 70-90% of it. The National Institutes of Health (USA) considers 30-180 milligrams (mg) per day to be a moderate amount.

If you take more than 1 gram of vitamin C per day, your body will only absorb half of it and excrete the rest in the urine.

Guidelines for Vitamin C intake are provided below. They will help you figure out how much Vitamin C you need each day. And if you get enough Vitamin C from food, there is no need to take supplements that your body will not absorb anyway.

Children and infants: 40-50 mg per day
Children aged 1-8 years: 15-25 mg per day
Children 9-13 years old: 45 mg per day
Adolescents 14-18 years old: 65-75 mg per day
Adults: 75-90 mg per day

Men, pregnant and breastfeeding women require higher amounts of vitamin C.

Consult your doctor before taking any supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

If you smoke, your need for vitamin C also increases by 35 mg per day.

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vit C deficiency can occur with insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially in the fall and winter and can cause:

  • mental activity decrease
  • general weakness
  • frequent colds
  • sleep disorders
  • depression
  • decreased appetite
  • bleeding gums
  • skin becomes dry, “goosey”
  • vitamin C avitaminosis leads to such a disease as Scurvy
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