Vitamin C: Gimme! gimme!! gimme!!!

Vitamin C is arguably the most popularly consumed vitamin – if not in the whole world, I’m very sure of in Nigeria. Well, it will interest you to know the following:

Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid, which is the form found in most foods. It is a water-soluble vitamin and cannot be stored in the body. Most plants and animals can produce this vitamin on their own, but humans cannot. For this reason, humans must eat ample amounts every day. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps boost the body’s immune system, which is why people often eat oranges or a vitamin supplement to prevent colds.



Did you know that the C-vitamin might help your cardiovascular health? A brand new study from University of Colorado, Boulder, found that that a 500 mg time-released dose of vitamin C had a protective effect on blood vessels that was similar to a walking workout, due to this, some call it the “exercise pill.” It’s also important to know that the study was small, including just 35 inactive overweight or obese adults. You’ll agree with me that the reasons to exercise go beyond blood vessel health. But this certainly suggests that the vitamin does far more for our bodies than support immunity.

How much of it do I need in my diet?
Men should consume 90 mg per day of vitamin C while women need 75 mg per day. Smokers should add an extra 35 mg per day to these numbers, because the vitamin is depleted as an antioxidant in smokers.  Additional vitamin is needed to ensure its other roles are performed.

Below are few myths and facts about the vitamin

Blasting a cold with vitamin C will fight it off: myth
Now that harmattan aka cold and flu season is officially ramping up, most people are popping vitamin supplements to avoid getting down with catarrh and the likes. But sadly, that may not be as beneficial as you think. While some research shows that people who regularly take vitamin C supplements may have slightly shorter colds or somewhat milder symptoms, for most people, boosting vitamin C doesn’t reduce the risk of catching the common cold. I say “most people” because there are studies that show that C-vitamin cut cold risk by 50% in male athletes, but not in females.

Vitamin C deficiencies are rare: fact
Our bodies cannot produce vitamin C, which is what makes this nutrient essential, meaning we must obtain it from food. One medium orange provides about 70 mg, and scurvy can be prevented with as little as 10 daily mg of the vitamin. Point is, these days a deficiency serious enough to cause symptoms, which can include bleeding gums and nosebleeds, swollen joints, rough, dry skin, and bruising, is quite rare.

Citrus is the best source of vitamin C: myth
While citrus (fruits such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and clementines, lime, lemon, shaddock, pomelo and more) is an excellent source of vitamin C, a veggie — bell peppers still comes out on top. One cup of chopped raw red bell pepper (about the size of a tennis ball) packs 200-300 mg of vitamin C, about 100 more than a cup of OJ – orange juice. Other good sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, and cantaloupe, as well as (of course) citrus fruits, like the above mentioned.

Adequate vitamin C intake helps weight loss: fact

A low blood level of vitamin C has been linked to having a higher BMI, body fat percentage, and waist circumference, compared to people with normal levels. And a study from Arizona State University found that the C-vitamin status might affect the body’s ability to use fat as a fuel source—during both exercise and at rest.

You can’t get too much vitamin C: myth

Your body can’t store this vitamin, so when you consume more than you need the surplus is eliminated by your kidneys in urine. That doesn’t mean however that big doses can’t create unwanted side effects. It is one of the nutrients that has an established Tolerable Upper Intake Level, essentially the maximum advised intake, from both food and supplements combined. For vitamin C, it’s 2,000 mg a day, and while some people may be fine taking in this amount or more, megadoses of the supplements have been shown to trigger bloating and digestive upset, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headaches, insomnia, and kidney stones.

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