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Vitamin C

Slices of lime covering the whole image

Next in the alphabet of vitamins is the water soluble Vitamin C. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is necessary for a number of important bodily functions such as protein metabolism, immune function and also the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters. Vitamin C is also known as an antioxidant vitamin. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, “Ongoing research is examining whether vitamin C, by limiting the damaging effects of free radicals through its antioxidant activity, might help prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases in which oxidative stress plays a causal role.”

There are many food sources for Vitamin C. The best sources for Vitamin C include: Citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato juice, potatoes, red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe. In addition to food sources, there are also multiple sources of supplemental Vitamin C. These sources are ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate; calcium ascorbate; other mineral ascorbates; and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids.

Recommended Dietary Allowances for Vitamin C are as follows:
Age Male Female
1-3 years 15mg 15mg
4-8 years 25mg 25mg
9-13 years 45mg 45mg
14-18 years 75mg 65mg
19+ years 90mg 75mg

People who smoke require an additional 35mg/day of Vitamin C. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, “studies consistently show that smokers have lower plasma and leukocyte vitamin C levels than nonsmokers, due in part to increased oxidative stress.” Other groups who may need additional Vitamin C supplementation are infants fed evaporated or boiled milk, individuals with limited food variety, and people with malabsorption and certain chronic diseases.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, “approximately 70%–90% of vitamin C is absorbed at moderate intakes of 30–180 mg/day. However, at doses above 1 g/day, absorption falls to less than 50% and absorbed, unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted in the urine.” For this reason it’s important to get steady dosages of this antioxidant vitamin, Vitamin C, daily.

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