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Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin C

Do you have the sniffles? Is your skin looser than it once was? Do you fill tired all the time? If the answer is yes, then you may be suffering from vitamin C deficiency. Believe or not, there are many who suffer from this everyday. Even if you are not classified as clinically deficient, you may require a little extra to protect against certain health issues. To determine how much you need, you must understand the role that vitamin C plays in the body.

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What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. This means that it dissolves in water. It cannot be stored in the body and must be replenished daily. All vitamins are grouped as being either "water soluble" or "fat soluble." Fat soluble are vitamins that dissolve in fat. This allows them to be stored and it is not necessary to take as much on a daily basis.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, meaning it protects the body from oxidative stress. Antioxidants are the number one defenders against free radicals. You may recognize the term free radicals from skin care promos and infomercials. Free radicals are like little armies against skin health.  These little monsters can cause anything from a wrinkle to cancer. When they invade, vitamin C comes to the rescue.

Vitamin C Benefits

  • Vitamin C helps the body build collagen
  • Cures common cold
  • Acts as an ascorbic acid, helping the body to absorb certain nutrients such as iron.
  • It functions like an antihistamine by deactivating histamine and relieving nasal congestion.
  • Some studies indicate that vitamin C may help in preventing conditions like heart disease and cataract.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need, and Where Can You Find It?

There are general guidelines set for Vitamin C consumption. These are called RDAs or recommended dietary allowances. This information can be easily found on the American Dietetic Association website.

The most common way to increase your vitamin C intake is to increase your fruit intake. Most fruits contain a large amount of this vitamin. Oranges, strawberries, tangerines and limes are just to name a few. These days, the vitamin is often added to kids' beverages, like Kool-Aid. For those who do not prefer fruit, potatoes are a little-known source of this vitamin.

Deficiency Symptoms
  • Anemia, pinpoint hemorrhages
  • Bone fragility, Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loosened teeth
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Depression
  • Hysteria
  • Rough skin
It is important to see a health care practitioner before increasing your Vitamin C intake above the Recommend Dietary Allowance.  Over consumption has been known to have adverse effects. The safest way to increase intake is to use natural means and avoid supplements.

Sametra Gardner has been writing professionally since 2010, with her work appearing on various health and nutrition related websites. She specializes in writing about nutrition and health-related content. Sametra holds a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition from Alcorn State University. Her passion for the food and nutrition industry began as a young adult. While attending college she witnessed first hand the impact that food service and nutrition can have on others. She was inspired to learn more and became a health/nutrition writer. Gardner desires to increase food and nutrition awareness of others in her community by spreading the knowledge, and wisdom that she has gained through years of education and hands on experience.


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