All About Vitamin C



Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a popular anti-scurvy water soluble vitamin. Its effectiveness in the treatment of scurvy is known since 1753 when James Lind, father of clinical trials, performed experiments on sea men suffering from scurvy. Though the finding of the study was not accepted but the role of vitamin C in treating scurvy was known widely and it was in 1933 when this vitamin was synthesized in vitro. Apart from treating scurvy, vitamin C is also used for normal growth and development of the body.


It is important to note that vitamin C is not synthesized by the body and hence it is compulsory to take diet rich in vitamin C.


Sources of Vitamin C


Sources are further divided into vegetable sources and fruit sources. Daily dosage of vitamin C required by the body for both males and females is 40 mg.


Vegetables that are rich in vitamin C include:


1. Sweet and white potatoes


2. Tomatoes and its juice



3. Spinach, cabbage, broccoli and other green leafy vegetables


4. Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts


Fruit sources of vitamin C are:


1. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, watermelon etc. are richly supplied with vitamin C


2. Kiwi



3. Mango


4. Papaya


5. Pineapple and strawberries


Benefits of Vitamin C


1. Vitamin C is very important in normal growth and repair of the body


2. Makes up the protein that is used in the formation of tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.


3. Vitamin C is an essential component that is used for the formation of collagen and hence connective tissue.


4. It helps in the early healing of wounds.


5. Maintains the health of bones, teeth and cartilage



6. Vitamin C, being an antioxidant, prevents the body from free radical damage and hence prevents aging.


7. Vitamin C is also helpful in treating patients of cancer, cardio-vascular disorders and arthritis.


8. Vitamin C is the best home remedy in treating common cold.


9. Vitamin C prevent anemia by helping in the absorption of iron.


Side Effects of Vitamin C Due To Excess or Under Consumption


“Excess of Everything is bad” hence vitamin C though beneficial can lead to harmful effects if consumed in amounts more than 2000 mg/day. Let us have a look at some of its side effects caused either due to excess or under consumption of vitamin C.


Excess Consumption of Vitamin C: Though there are no severe side effects linked due to excess consumption of Vitamin C but if consumed at an excess of 2000 mg/day can lead to diarrhea or stomach problems.


Under Consumption/Deficiency of Vitamin C: Consuming less of vitamin C then recommended has numerous side effects like



1. Bleeding from gums (scurvy) is the major disease due to its deficiency


2. Decreased immune system


3. Dry hair


4. Gingivitis i.e. inflammation of gums


5. Epistaxis i.e. bleeding from nose


6. Due to decrease in metabolism there is weight gain


7. Skin becomes dry and scaly


8. Weak teeth due to erosion of enamel


Recommended Dietary Allowance (R.D.A.) of Vitamin C


RDA of the entire vitamins depends upon the following factors:


1. Age of person


2. Gender


3. Physical condition


4. Habits like smoking and drinking


RDA for infants of age group up to 6 months is 40 mg/day while those with age group of 7 to 12 months it is 50 mg/day.


RDA for children from age group of 1 to 13 years varies from 15 to 45 mg/day. For girls and body of age group 14 – 18 years, vitamin C required is 65 mg/day and 75 mg/day respectively.


Apart from age if the person is a chronic smoker then she or he requires more vitamin C.

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