// What is vitamin C for?
Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is one of the most important chemical compounds necessary for the health and proper functioning of human metabolism. The body needs daily coverage of vitamin C to fight free radicals, to strengthen immunity, maintain optimal connective and bone tissue functions, and also to fight aging.
The use of foods rich in ascorbic acid (or supplements in tablets) is especially useful for athletes - vitamin C is responsible for both the synthesis of collagen and the restoration (and hence growth) of connective tissues and muscles after physical training, and for the efficient absorption of minerals and maintaining a healthy levels of testosterone and other hormones.
Covering the daily requirement for vitamin C improves the ability of cell membranes to resist damaging factors of various nature - from pathogenic viruses to aging sun rays to the fight against inflammation in muscle tissue after training. That is why it is believed that vitamin C enhances immunity .
The benefits of vitamin C for immunity
One of the latest studies conducted in February 2020 in Wuhan (the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic) showed that taking large doses of vitamin C - up to 25 g per day for 7 days - can affect the course of the disease². It is important that the final findings of the study have not yet been published, and WHO does not consider vitamin C as a treatment for or prevention of coronavirus.
Ascorbic acid affects the energy processes in the body, optimizing the mechanisms of processing nutrients from food (from proteins and carbohydrates to all kinds of vitamins and microminerals), directly affects cholesterol synthesis and reduces the formation of cholesterol plaques on the walls of blood vessels. Ultimately, it is good for maintaining health.
Vitamin C and glucose
Vitamin C is not in vain has a pronounced sweetish taste - in the body of some mammals (for example, cats), it is synthesized from glucose. Since the human body (both children and adults) cannot synthesize vitamin C, it must come from food. At the same time, foods rich in vitamin C are, first of all, various fruits, berries, and also some vegetables.
In essence, the body needs vitamin C to transform glucose ( simple carbohydrates ) into glycogen , which is the main source of energy for both muscles and the brain. In the event that a person does not receive the necessary daily dose of vitamin C, a number of important metabolic processes in the body are disrupted - from immunity to the ability to resist aging.
Daily Vitamin C Requirement
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. Adolescents need from 65 to 75 mg of vitamin C per day, and children need about 35-50 mg. About 3,000 mg (or 3 g) of ascorbic acid in tablets can be consumed to a maximum once and without harm to health - which is equivalent to a kilogram of rosehip berries or 6 kg of oranges or lemons.
Vitamin C is water-soluble (unlike the fat-soluble vitamins D, E, K and A) and is not able to accumulate in the tissues of the body. Its excess is excreted in urine and sweat. For this reason, vitamin C needs to be eaten daily, and not taken in courses, as some mistakenly believe. In other words, over the summer it is not possible to accumulate a sufficient dose of vitamin C for the winter.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
It is important to note that although oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits do contain vitamin C, they are not in such significant quantities as is traditionally believed. Foods that are richest in Vitamin C are fresh rosehip berries, sweet red pepper, sea buckthorn berries, blackcurrant berries, green parsley, and spinach leaves.
We also note that the figures given in the table for the vitamin C content in the products are approximate - the actual content always depends on the method of growing a particular plant, and on how the product is consumed. Among other things, ascorbic acid is actively destroyed by heat and during cooking (especially during cooking).
Vitamin C Content in Foods
|Product||Vitamin C content per 100 g||Percent Daily Values|
|Fresh rosehip berries||450-600 mg||500-600%|
|Sweet red pepper||180-250 mg||200-300%|
|Sea buckthorn and black currant||180-200 mg||200-250%|
|Green pepper||130-150 mg||150-170%|
|Spinach and other dark green salad||100-120 mg||110-120%|
|Broccoli, Brussels sprouts||80-95 mg||95-100%|
|Strawberries and other berries||50-60 mg||45-55%|
|Pineapple, melon, apples||15-20 mg||10-15%|
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
Scurvy (acute lack of ascorbic acid) is practically not found in the modern world, however, moderate vitamin C deficiency is quite common among people who do not receive the necessary daily allowance. The main reason is both a lack of fresh vegetables in the diet and bad habits - alcohol and nicotine dramatically accelerate the elimination of vitamin C from the body.
Typical symptoms of vitamin C deficiency are slow wound healing, increased brittle nails, hair loss, decreased immunity (and hence a higher chance of getting a cold) and chronic fatigue. Among other things, since vitamin C is needed by the body to absorb iron, the symptoms of their deficiency often overlap.
Does vitamin C help with colds?
It is important to understand that although the lack of vitamin C in the daily diet does lead to a decrease in immunity, this does not mean at all that large doses of ascorbic acid can cure viral diseases or "improve" immunity. Scientific studies have long disproved the myth that when taking large doses of vitamin C, the common cold goes faster.
The same principle applies to most other vitamins and omega-3 fats - although fish oil is really necessary for a proper metabolism, you do not need to wait for any improvement in health if you take it excessively. It is always about covering the daily intake of vitamins to optimize metabolism, and not that they can cure diseases.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the most important elements of good nutrition, responsible for the functions of immunity, tissue regeneration and absorption of nutrients. Despite the fact that health needs to be covered by the daily intake of vitamin C, this does not mean at all that its additional intake in tablets can improve immunity or help fight colds.
- Intravenous vitamin C as adjunctive therapy for enterovirus / rhinovirus induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, source
- Vitamin C Infusion for the Treatment of Severe 2019-nCoV Infected Pneumonia, source