Vitamin C Benefits
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is abundant in vegetables and fruits. A water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, it helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin.
What does vitamin C do?
Vitamin C helps to repair and regenerate tissues, protect against heart disease, aid in the absorption of iron, prevent scurvy, and decrease total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides. Research indicates that vitamin C may help protect against a variety of cancers by combating free radicals, and helping neutralize the effects of nitrites (preservatives found in some packaged foods that may raise the risk of certain forms of cancer). Supplemental vitamin C may also lessen the duration and symptoms of a common cold, help delay or prevent cataracts, and support healthy immune function.
What are the signs of a vitamin C deficiency?
Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding gums, and leg rashes. Prolonged deficiency can cause scurvy, a rare but potentially severe illness.
How much, and what kind, does an adult need?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended vitamin C daily allowance (RDA) for adults over age 19 is:
- men, 90 mg per day
- women, 75 mg per day
- pregnant women, 85 mg per day
- breastfeeding women, 120 mg per day.