Vitamin C 101 : Here's What You Need to Know (2022)

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient which cannot be produced by humans (. 2017). Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Vitamin C may be one of the most well-known immune nutrients that protect against immune deficiencies and which supports the prevention and recovery from the common cold and upper-respiratory issues, and also protects your cardiovascular system, eyes, skin, and other parts of your body. 

Vitamin C is a particularly unique nutrient because it also functions as an antioxidant that protects your cells against potential damage.

Different Forms of Vitamin C

1. Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid is the most often used and cheapest form of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid comes in the form of pills, capsules, or powder.

 

However, certain people, especially those with stomach acid concerns, may find it difficult to digest due to its small acidic component.   While ascorbic acid is manufactured synthetically, it is equivalent to natural forms. Because studies have shown that only 30% of a given dosage is actually absorbed, researchers have looked for different formulations that would be more easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal system. 

2. Mineral Ascorbates

a. Calcium Ascorbate Vitamin C

Calsium Ascorbat generates less gastrointestinal discomfort than ascorbic acid formation while keeping the same antioxidant capacity. This formula contains both calcium (90-100 mg) and ascorbate (900 mg) which great for those who wish to increase bone health while also preventing osteopenia and osteoporosis.

b. Magnesium Ascorbate Vitamin C

Magnesium ascorbate great for someone who has low magnesium or those who suffer from persistent headaches or leg cramps because besides ascorbate, this formula also include 50 to 100 mg of magnesium.

c. Sodium Ascorbate Vitamin C

This supplement includes sodium (100-200 mg) and ascorbate (900 mg). This formulation should be avoided by anyone on a low-salt diet. While most low-salt dieters should limit their daily salt intake to less than 2,000 mg, even little quantities can pile up over time.

3. Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids

What is bioflavoniods?

Bioflavonoids are a group of compounds present in many of the same foods that are high in vitamin C. In fact, scientists have discovered over 8,000 different bioflavonoid structures in nature. The natural pigments that give fruits and vegetables their color are bioflavonoids (also known as flavonoids).

 

Vitamin C is frequently mixed with bioflavonoids, which are antioxidants. The idea that vitamin C with bioflavonoids may be better absorbed made people find take this formula  It’s also a preferable choice for anyone who are sensitive to ascorbic acid’s gastrointestinal side effects.

4. Liposomal Vitamin C

Vitamin C in a liposome is known as liposomal Vitamin C.

 

Liposomes are incredibly tiny particles that resemble our cells. This means that liposomal Vitamin C bypasses the digestive system, which often delays absorption. The key distinction between liposomal Vitamin C and conventional Vitamin C is its bioavailability. Because typical Vitamin C is water soluble, its bioavailability is quite poor. When taken orally, only approximately 12 percent to 14 percent of conventional Vitamin C is absorbed.

 

Vitamin C, on the other hand, is transported straight into the cells of the body in liposomal form, without being destroyed or expending energy in the process, maximizing the effect.

5. Vitamin C with Rose Hips

Regular ascorbic acid is commonly included in vitamin C with rose hips formulations. Rose hips are the fruits of rose plants that contain a high level of easily absorbed vitamin C. Lycopene, phenols, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and vitamin E are all antioxidants found in rose hips.

6. Ascorbyl Palmitate Vitamin C

Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble, highly bioavailable version of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that has all of the same qualities as its native water-soluble counterpart, vitamin C. It is a free radical scavenger and a powerful antioxidant that protects lipids from peroxidation.

Benefits of Vitamin C

You might wonderwhat does vitamin c do, so these are the benefits of vitamin c:

 

a. Reduce risk of chronic disease

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help to boost your body’s natural defenses.

Antioxidants are molecules that help the body’s immune system function better  by defending cells against dangerous molecules known as free radicals.

When free radicals build up in the body, they can cause oxidative stress, which has been related to a variety of chronic illnesses.

 

b. May reduce high blood presure

A study suggest that the antihypertensive effect of vitamin C is associated with a reduction in vascular sensitivity to noradrenaline and enhancement of endothelium-dependent relaxation due to increased nitric oxide bioavailability.

Another study also suggest that for short-term trials, vitamin C supplementation reduced systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP). Long-term trials on the effects of vitamin C supplementation on BP and clinical events are needed.

 
c. For immune support

Overall, vitamin C appears to exert a multitude of beneficial effects on cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Although vitamin C is a potent antioxidant protecting the body against endogenous and exogenous oxidative challenges, it is likely that its action as a cofactor for numerous biosynthetic and gene regulatory enzymes plays a key role in its immune-modulating effects. [Source]

 

d. May help to treat and prevent respiratory infections like pneumonia.

Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to a weakened immune system and a higher risk of respiratory infections. Vitamin C has a function in modulating an infectious agent’s resistance. As a result, vitamin C supplementation may be beneficial in preventing and treating pneumonia.

 
e. Help to maintain heart health

High blood pressure, high triglyceride or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels are all factors that raise the risk of heart disease.

Vitamin C may assist to lower these risk factors, which may help lowering the risk of heart disease.

A study suggest that high supplemental vitamin C intakes can reduce incidence of major coronary heart disease events.

 

f. Improve iron absorption

Vitamin C intake has been shown to improve iron absorption. It binds non-heme iron and stores it in a form that’s easier for your body to absorb. (Source)

 

g. Maintaining skin health

What does vitamin c do for skin?

Vitamin C is important for the formation of collagen, the major component of arteries and skin. Collagen is also necessary for tooth health. According to studies, a diet rich in vitamin C-rich foods is beneficial to the skin, teeth, and bones. A vitamin C-rich diet is a wonderful approach to get the most out of this important antioxidant. 

Vitamin C Intake Recommendations

CHILDREN

0-6 months

40 mg/day
Adequate Intake (AI)

7-12 months

50 mg/day
Adequate Intake (AI)

1-3 years

15 mg/day

4-8 years

25 mg/day

9-13 years

45 mg/day

FEMALES

14 to 18 years

65 mg/day

19 years and up

75 mg/day

Pregnant

18 years and under: 80 mg/day
19 years and over: 85 mg/day

Breastfeeding

18 years and under: 115 mg/day
19 years and over: 120 mg/day

MALES

14 to 18 years

75 mg/day

19 years and up

90 mg/day

Smokers need 35 mg/day more vitamin C than nonsmokers.

(Source)

Vitamin C Deficiency

Severe vitamin c deficiency, often called scurvy, can cause bruise, gum and dental problems, dry hair and skin, also anemia. Doctor will do the diagnosis based on symptoms and blood test result. Increasing consumption of food high in vitamin c or taking vitamin C supplements usually increase your vitamin c level.

– Alcoholism
– Babies only fed cow’s milk
– Seniors only consuming tea and toast diet
– Not getting enough fruits and vegetables
– Smokers ; Tobacco smoking (each cigarette oxidizes about 60 mg of vitamin C)
– People with eating disorders
– People with type 1 diabetes who need a lot of vitamin C
– Individuals with disorders of the GI tract like inflammatory bowel disease.
– Individuals with iron overload, which causes the kidneys to waste vitamin C

Scurvy is when someone has a severe deficiency of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. The deficiency leads to symptoms of weakness, anemia, gum disease, and skin problems.

 

Lack of Vitamin C Symptoms

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency can start to appear after 8 to 12 weeks. Early signs include a loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, and lethargy.

 

Within 1 to 3 months, there may be signs of:

  • anemia
  • myalgia, or pain, including bone pain
  • swelling, or edema
  • petechiae, or small red spots resulting from bleeding under the skin
  • corkscrew hairs
  • gum disease and loss of teeth
  • poor wound healing
  • shortness of breath
  • mood changes, and depression (Source)

Too much vitamin C

How much vitamin c is too much ?

In males and females aged 19 years and older, the upper limit for vitamin C consumption is 2,000 mg. For pregnant or nursing women, the restriction stays the same.

Vitamin C side effects

Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements might cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

(Source)

Too much vitamin C in your system can raise the amount of oxalate in your kidneys, which can lead to kidney stones.

Food high in vitamin C – Vitamin C Sources

Vitamin c fruits and vitamin c vegetables :

– citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice

– peppers

– strawberries

– blackcurrants

– broccoli

– potatoes

FAQ

Selecting the right vitamin C supplement depends on a variety of factors, including the form, quality, dose, and price.

 

Form

You can start by considering how you’ll be using the supplement. For instance, if you prefer to take a pill, you’ll want to check out encapsulated vitamin C supplements. If you don’t like swallowing pills or want to mix it into beverages, your best bet is to consider liquid or powdered supplements.

 

Quality

Next, you want to check the supplement’s quality. Evaluate whether a brand is reputable by exploring their ingredient sourcing and manufacturing standards. A good product will also be tested by third-party organizations, such as USP, Consumer Labs, or NSF International.

Take a look at added ingredients, too. If you’re trying to limit your intake of added sugars, you want to opt for a supplement that doesn’t contain sugar.

 

Dosage

Another factor to consider is the dosage. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adults is 90 mg for men, 75 mg for women, and up to 120 mg for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. However, certain medical conditions may require that you take much higher doses (NIH).

 

Children have lower vitamin C requirements, which range from 25–75mg per day, depending on their age. However, it’s not generally advised to give children a vitamin C supplement unless their pediatrician has recommended it.

 

Note that the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin C for men, as well as women ages 19 and above, is 2,000 mg. Meanwhile, the UL for children ranges from 400–1,800 mg, depending on age. Daily intakes at or below these amounts are unlikely to result in any adverse health effects (NIH).

 

Generally, high doses of vitamin C are unnecessary and could contribute to harmful side effects. Only consume high doses if your healthcare provider recommends doing so.

 

Budget

Finally, you want to consider your budget. Some professional-grade brands can be expensive, but keep in mind that a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a better product. There are plenty of high quality options available at various price points.

 
In contrast, all steady state comparative bioavailability studies in humans have shown no differences between synthetic and natural vitamin C, regardless of the subject population, study design or intervention used.

A review, published December 7, 2020, in the journal Nutrients, recommended the use of vitamin C as an additional therapy for respiratory infections, sepsis and COVID-19.

 

In December 16, 2020, Rob Verkerk, Ph.D., founder and scientific director of the Alliance for Natural Health, announced the launch of an international vitamin C campaign in response to the Nutrients review, which “puts all the arguments and science in one, neat place.”

 
However, large controlled studies demonstrating vitamin C’s effectiveness in COVID-19 are still lacking. There are many such studies underway and you can review the status of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov. As of January 2021, more than 50 studies have been launched to investigate the benefits of vitamin C against COVID-19.
 
NIH

The National Institutes (NIH) Panel has determined that there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of Vitamin C for the treatment of non-critically ill COVID-19 (last updated November 2020).

 

At the Cleveland Clinic, researchers are enrolling people into a study to see if vitamin C or zinc — or a combination of the two — can reduce the duration of COVID-19 symptoms. Patients will be given the supplements after they have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Currently, no definitive evidence supports the use of oral vitamin C supplements to prevent COVID-19.

 

Vitamin C may help shorten the duration and severity of colds caused by other viruses, but this is no guarantee that it will have the same effect on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

 

Additionally, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It dissolves in water, meaning that excess amounts aren’t stored in your body but instead eliminated through your urine. Taking more vitamin C does not mean that your body is absorbing more (nih).

 

High dose vitamin c

High dose vitamin C supplements may even cause diarrhea, as they can signal your body to pull water out of the cells and into your digestive tract (NIH).

 

Moreover, although high dose vitamin C appears promising for COVID-19 treatment, these doses were exceptionally high and given via IV — not taken orally. Additionally, it was only given in cases severe enough to require hospitalization.

 

Your best bet is to eat a diet that’s full of a variety of fruits and vegetables, which naturally provide all the vitamin C a healthy person needs — along with many other nutrients and antioxidants.

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