Vitamin C is one of the most essential water soluble vitamins (those which dissolve in water, while the excess leaves the body via the urine) and it is absolutely vital for the normal development and growth of the human body. This vitamin cannot be made by the body, which does not store the nutrient.
What Is The Function Of This Vitamin?
As already mentioned, this vitamin is a vital prerequisite for the growth as well as repair of almost all body tissues. Its functions are, among others, the following:
- Healing wounds as well as forming scar tissue
- It is used to shape a key protein which is utilized in the making of tendons, skin, blood vessels, and ligaments
- Repairing and maintaining of the bones, cartilage, and the teeth
This vitamin is also extremely important due to the fact that it is one of a myriad of antioxidants, which by definition are nutrients which serve to alleviate the damage that free radicals can cause. Free radicals are to blame for the aging process, and they are created when the body breaks up food, playing a major role in heart disease, arthritis and even cancer. Also, this is a very popular medication used to treat the common cold.
Where Can We Find This Nutrient?
It may be an interesting fact that all fruits as well as vegetables contain a certain amount of this vitamin.
However, the fruits which have the highest content of this nutrient are the following: cantaloupe, mango, pineapple, all the fruits from the berry family (raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries), kiwis, citrus fruits (grapefruits, oranges), and watermelon.
The vegetables which contain the largest amounts of this nutrient are: sweet as well as white potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc. Also, certain cereals are fortified with this vitamin (fortified signifies that a food has been enhanced with a mineral or vitamin).
What Are The Side Effects Of Excessive Vitamin C?
Severe side effects from an excessive amount of this vitamin are quite rare, due to the fact that the body does not have the ability to accumulate the vitamin. Nevertheless, quantities of this nutrient that are larger than 2,000 milligrams per day are not suggested, as such an excessive amount can cause various stomach upsets as well as diarrhea.
On the other hand, insufficient C vitamin can also produce some indications of deficiency, as for instance the following: bleeding gums, anemia, dry hair, nosebleed, a slower metabolism which may result in weight gain, a reduced capability to fight against disease, and damaged enamel of the teeth, as well as painful and inflamed joints.
In fact, a very serious type of C vitamin insufficiency happens to be scurvy, an illness that is now rare and that largely affects elderly and malnourished adults.
What Is The Recommended Nutritional Allowance Of Vitamin C?
The RDA for nutrients is, generally speaking, an indication of the amount of the vitamin which should be ingested every day. This amount depends on the age of the person, as well as the gender, but also, other circumstances should be factored in, such as for instance, pregnancy or any known illnesses, etc. There is, of course, no better way to obtain the regular requisite of vitamin C, as well as of other vitamins, but to consume a well-balanced diet which consists of a diversity of foodstuffs. The recommended intake per day is the following:
Infants: 0 – 12 months: 40-50 mg per day
Children: 1 – 13 years of age – 15-45 mg per day
Adolescents: Girls/boys 14 – 18 years – 65-67 mg per day
Adults: Women/men aged 19 and over – 75-90 mg/day
NOTE: It is suggested that smokers should boost their regular amount of this vitamin by 35 mg daily.