Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a weak acid that aids in various metabolic process and helps prevent disease. It is also an antioxidant, eliminating free radicals which cause cell damage and impair the immune system.
Your body can’t store vitamin C or make it, so you need to try and get some every day. But how much should we take?
Vitamin C deficiency
Vitamin C deficiency in humans leads to scurvy. Early symptoms in adults include fatigue, weakness, aching joints and muscles. In later stages, scurvy is characterized by anemia, bleeding from the gums, petechial and sheet hemorrhages, and delayed wound healing.
Scientists say that at least 25 mg. of vitamin C per day is essential and minimum for body. Eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day will provide enough vitamin C and other important vitamins and fiber.
How much should we take?
As above said, vitamin C has to be consumed daily because the body does not store it. But this vitamin is hard to over consume because the body just expels what it doesn’t need!
There are different standards on the required dose of vitamin C. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends 40 mg per day, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 45 mg per day, and the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommends 60 to 95 mg per day. Adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and smokers may need higher daily doses.
Pediatricians recommend that children should consume at least 30 – 45 mg. of vitamin C per day. This is the minimum requirement. Parents should check with their own Pediatrician to confirm the requirement or special needs for their children. Children with asthma or other health problems may require a higher consumption of Vitamin C.
Mega doses of 1000 mcg or more should be avoided if you suffer from kidney stones, since it may worsen the condition.
Large doses of vitamin C can cause indigestion, especially when taken with an empty stomach. Diarrhea can also result from doses of five to 25 grams in healthy patients and over 300 grams in those with AIDS or cancer. This is usually harmless and can easily be relieved by reducing the dose. Parenteral (injected) vitamin C can cause faintness or dizziness. Since vitamin C increases iron absorption, iron poisoning may occur in patients taking iron supplements. Other common side effects are headache, flushing or redness, side or lower back pain, and nausea.
Apart from this, vitamin C is very safe. The body can readily excrete excesses in urine, since it is a water-soluble vitamin. So the recommended amount of vitamin C for most healthy people is 60mg/day.