What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a very important nutrient for humans and animals. The chemical name of Vitamin C is ascorbic acid. It is a vital nutrient which is majorly involved in repairing of tissues and the enzymatic production of some neurotransmitters. It is useful for certain enzymes to work and is also essential for a healthy immune system. It also works as an antioxidant.
Sources of Vitamin C
It has many sources like vegetarian, non-vegetarian foods which make it easier to follow.
Vegetarian Sources of Vitamin C
|Fruits||Values per 100 g||Vegetables||Values per 100 g|
|Oranges||30000 mcg||Cauliflower||56000 mcg|
|Sweet Lime||50000 mcg||Cabbage||124000 mcg|
|Mangoes||16000 mcg||Fenugreek Leaves||52000 mcg|
|Papayas||57000 mcg||Parsley||281000 mcg|
|Strawberries||52000 mcg||Drumsticks||220000 mcg|
|Guava||212000 mcg||Turnip Greens||180000 mcg|
|Lychees||310000 mcg||Tomatoes||310000 mcg|
|Raspberries||30000 mcg||Brussels sprouts||72000 mcg|
|Gooseberries||600000 mcg||Potatoes||17000 mcg|
|Pineapples||39000 mcg||Spinach||28000 mcg|
|Pomegranates||16000 mcg||Brinjals||12000 mcg|
|Cranberries||26000 mcg||Bitter Gourd||88000 mcg|
|Lemon||39000 mcg||French Beans||24000 mcg|
Non-Vegetarian Sources of Vitamin C
|Fish & Meat||Values per 100 g|
Benefits of Vitamin C
A Vitamin C rich diet not only have health benefits but also beauty benefits.
Here are the Health Benefits of Vitamin C
- Helps in fighting cancer
- Helps in collagen synthesis
- Helps in healing wounds
- Strengthens bones and helps in preventing osteoporosis
- Some latest researches also show that Vitamin C guards from atherosclerosis, and prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol
- It also improves lipid profiles and arterial stiffness
- It has also been found that Vitamin C helps in lowering blood pressure
- It is also believed by researchers that Vitamin C is important for maintaining and up keeping oral health and preventing loss of teeth
- It is also helpful in the prevention of neuro-degenerative diseases
- Vitamin C might treat or prevent obesity by fighting the root causes of weight gain and help you lose some weight
- It also improves cardiovascular health
Here are the Beauty Benefits of Vitamin C
- Vitamin C heals burn wounds and other wounds
- The antioxidant properties also help in treating sunburns
- Vitamin C helps in treating eczema
- It prevents skin discoloration
- Vitamin C also greatly improves skin texture
- It improves hair growth and quality by reducing split ends and making them fuller and thicker
- Vitamin C attacks the bacteria on the scalp and prevents or treats dandruff.
- It stops premature greying of hair
- It is also been proven to reduce the effects of erythema which is UVB induced
What Are the Deficiency Symptoms Of Vitamin C?
1. Bleeding or swollen gums
Low levels of Vitamin C can lead to weak connective tissues in the Gums which leads to bleeding, inflammation and swollen gums which sometimes might lead to scurvy.
2. Inflammation of the gums which is also known as gingivitis
3. Process of Wound healing is slowed down
Vitamin C deficiency slows down the process of wound healing as the immune system is too weak to be working on the site of the wound.
4. Easy Bruising
5. Split ends and dry hair
Hair needs a protein for its growth which is provided by Vitamin C. as there is lack of the proteins; it will lead to hair fall dry hair, dry scalp, flaky skin on the scalp which is the main cause of dandruff and premature greying of the hair.
6. Flaky skin of the scalp leading to Dandruff
7. Premature Greying of Hair
Vitamin C deficiency leads to weak blood vessels and blood capillaries which burst easily when they are under a little pressure.
9. Weight gain
Vitamin C deficiency leads to low levels of energy which makes fat accumulate in the body leading to weight gain.
10.Fragile immunity or immune system
Vitamin C as a whole is very important for good immunity. Lack of Vitamin C may lead to poor immunity.
11. Painful sore and swollen joints
12. Rough dry and damaged skin
13. Spoon shaped fingernails
Diseases Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin C
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to petty to grave diseases which sometimes lead to death if not treated properly. They are listed as follows:
Scurvy happens when there is Vitamin C deficiency in the body. It is an oral health problem. It can lead to anaemia, gum diseases, skin problems, weakness and fatigue. It is characterized by swollen gums which bleed and the opening of the wounds which our earlier healed. If treatment is not taken then red blood cells may decrease, gum diseases may worsen, hair might fall or split ends and dandruff will increase and the skin might start bleeding. Scurvy leads to mental disorders, changes in personality and behaviour, weak wound healing, and death due to infection from the wound or because of the wound bleeding out. It is one of the sister diseases of mal-nourishment. This happens because Vitamin C is needed to provide nourishment to connective tissues and help them grow. Vitamin C makes collagen, which is a very important factor in the growth of connective tissues. Weak connective tissues lead to bleeding out of gums which is also dangerous. Symptoms can show up as late as 8 to 12 weeks from the consistent lack of Vitamin C in the diet and the signs include irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue weight loss, lethargy, etc.
Anaemia occurs when the body is lacking vital nutrients and vitamins which it needs to complete its development and to produce enough red blood cells.Vitamin C defienciy might also happen if the body somehow stops the ability to absorb Vitamin C which can lead to anaemia. Habits like smoking, consuming alcohol and narcotics impair body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients and vitamins especially Vitamin C. Risk factors also include chronic illnesses such as cancer or chronic kidney disease which raise your chances of Vitamin C deficiency leading to Anemia.
If periodontitis/pyria is not treated properly on time then it may lead to tooth loss. It all starts with inflammation irritation and swelling of the gums around the teeth which also support the teeth (gingival tissue). If it is treated on time and properly then the effects of gingivitis i.e. mild inflammation can be reversed. It happens because of various reasons such as poor dental hygiene, tobacco abuse, smoking, grinding teeth, stress, unhealthy diet and other reasons. The main reason of the entire problem is Vitamin C deficiency.
Recommended Dosages for Vitamin C Supplements
The best and easiest way to take Vitamin C is naturally that is through diet. You can include Vitamin C enriched food products like citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, papayas, watermelons etc. There are also Vitamin C supplemts which are to be taken orally generally via a tablet, Vitamin C capsules or syrup. Total Vitamin C amount for the individual groups such as infants, adolescents, adult males and female and pregnant women is given as follows:–
[Also Read: Best Multivitamins in India Right Now]
0 to 6 months: 40 mg per day (adequate intake)
7 to 12 months: 50 mg per day (adequate intake)
1 to 3 years: 15 mg per day
4 to 8 years: 25 mg per day
9 to 13 years: 45 mg per day
Infants also get Vitamin C from the mother’s breast milk and that is enough nutritional requirements for them.
14 to 18 years of age: 65 mg per day
19 years and above: 75 mg per day
18 years and below (pregnant): 80 mg per day
19 years and above (pregnant): 85 mg per day
18 years and below (breastfeeding): 115 mg per day
19 years and above (breastfeeding): 120 mg per
14 to 18 years of age: 75 mg per day
19 years and above: 90 mg per day
Smokers require 35 mg per day more than the amount required for non-smokers. This RDA (Recommended dietary allowance) includes Vitamin C intake via natural foods and process and also with the additional supplements one takes.
Side Effects of Consuming Vitamin C
When it is taken naturally via food and diet then it is pretty harmless but however, if pills are also consumed then one must make sure they are in proper and recommended intake as more intake than required nay create some side effects and is probably unsafe.
Side effects include –
- Stomach cramps
- Kidney stones
- If you already had a kidney stone and if you are taking high dosages of Vitamin C than recommended then there are chances that the kidney stones might reoccur or reappear
Special Precautions, Warning and Safety Measures
Pregnant and Lactating Mothers
It is safe if it is taken via mouth through natural processes like eating fruits and vegetables and including Vitamin C enriched diet in your daily life. It is also most likely safe when the Vitamin C is supplied by IV, but it should be in recommended dosages and should not exceed that as it can cause problems to the mother and the newborn baby or the unborn child as the only source of their food is their mother.
People on Other Medications
- First of all, if someone is on other medications for other diseases then they should first talk to their doctor and then decide the amount of Vitamin C to be taken via natural process or oral supplements.
- If any other regular drugs or medications are taken or chemotherapy is going on then one should again consult the doctor for the dosage and intake method and if it is safe.
- It interacts with various other drugs like aspirin, blood thinners, antacids, acetaminophen and the results may not be pleasant.
- If a person has any chronic illnesses like gout diseases, liver problems. Lung problems cancer, kidney disease etc then pone should consult the doctor so as to prevent the side effect of two clashing drugs.
- Vitamin C is a very essential nutrient which people must get to function to its fullest or there are chances of contracting grave diseases like scurvy periodontitis and anaemia
- Your diet should include Vitamin C rich food like citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, some non-veg food, tomatoes, papayas, watermelons etc which will not only increase your blood flow and red blood cells but also help in absorbing Vitamin C into your body
- Vitamin C is beneficial in many ways as it protects your health fights off diseases, strengthen the immune system, improves hair and skin quality and texture
- Deficiency of Vitamin C may lead to fatigue, scurvy, anaemia, swollen joints, osteoporosis, pyria, hair fall, and skin damage, slow healing of a wound and in extreme cases death
- Vitamin C daily requirement dosages should be taken in recommended value and should be made sure that they don’t clash with your other medicines and excess dosage intake will lead to countless other problems in some cases, death
- Overall all the vitamins are essential and should be taken in proper dosages as they keep you healthy