Vitamin C is surely the most popular micronutrient out there. Supplements containing this vitamin were heavily advertised claiming that you will avoid getting sick or even fight the aging process because of its antioxidant capabilities. We’ll look later at how true these statements are. Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid and it functions as an electron donor for 8 enzymes. Its role is complex and its most important functions are:
- It aids in the synthesis of: carnitine (gets fat through cell membrane and is formed from lysine and methionine), collagen (structural protein which it is used in rebuilding tissue like wound healing), protein hormone production, and tyrosine(essential amino acid).
- Supports better iron absorption from the GI tract. The iron from meat is better absorbed if taken with an orange or lemon juice.
- As an antioxidant, in theory, reduces the damage from free radicals.
- Helps the formation of cartilage, bone, and denton(tooth)
¼ cantaloupe: 60 mg
½ cup grapefruit: 40mg
½ cup grapefruit juice: 35mg
½ cup cooked broccoli:60mg
1 cup sweet potatoes: 50 mg
1 kiwi: 75mg
1 lemon: 35mg
Healthy male, age 19-90: 90mg
Healthy female, age 19-90: 75mg.
Female smokers: 100mg
Male smokers 130mg
As you can see the recommended values can be easily reached. However some people need more. Depending on the amount of daily exercise, lifestyle choices, environment and others you can effectively use 500-1000mg/day. Current research show that amounts of 500mg-1500mg may protect against upper respiratory infections.
Excess vitamin C:
Relatively not toxic but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an effect. It’s possible to be linked with kidney stones. In the metabolism of vitamin C it results a urinary product called oxalate and many kidney stones are oxalate based. Another important aspect is that large amounts of vitamin C affect the bio-availability of vitamin B12 (remember the basic vitamin interactions). It can also cause chronic diarrhea.
It can affect results of certain health tests like glucose in urine. It can show that you have sugar in your urine when in fact it’s an excess of vitamin C. Although values a lot higher than the recommended dose can be beneficial, you should always stop at 2000 mg / day.
Vitamin C and common illness:
Everyone taking vitamin C as a supplement is doing it because they are convinced it will prevent illness. What do you think about this? True or false? A recent research done on a larger number of people than before had only one conclusion. Vitamin C can reduce the duration of the cold by 8% for adults 14% for children but it doesn’t prevent it, or reduce the intensity! So does this mean vitamins C is useless? No! As stated earlier vitamin C is a powerhouse and is essential for many internal functions. However it isn’t magical and it can’t be used to mend all your bad habits.