Vitamin C

or L-ascorbic acid

How it functions in the body?

It acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun. The body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein required to help wounds heal. In addition, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant-based foods and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from disease.

Major Sources (top ten)

  1. Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers
  2. Guavas
  3. Bell Peppers
  4. Fresh Herbs
  5. Dark Leafy Greens
  6. Broccoli
  7. Kiwi Fruits
  8. Papaya
  9. Oranges
  10. Strawberries

Too much or not enough?

Generally, it is safe, but avoid taking large doses of this vitamin. As a matter of fact, an Upper Limit was set in 2000 as part of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). For adults, this level was set at 2000 mg per day. Taking doses this large can result in diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea. A lack of vitamin C means that new collagen cannot be formed. This causes various tissues in the body to start to break down and the health and repair of the body becomes affected. Chronic (persistent) vitamin C deficiency, usually over a period of around three months or more, can lead to an illness known as scurvy.

More Facts

  • People with high intakes of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables might have a lower risk of getting many types of cancer
  • The amount of vitamin C you need each day depends on your age.
  • Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C.

Acrostic Poem

V- vitamin C helps maintain healthy bones and skin

I- illness, scurvy is cured by vitamin C

T- tissue protein depends on vitamin C

A- ascorbic acid

M- Mangoes have vitamin C

I- Identified by ascorbic acid

N- no vitamin C for months causes scurvy

C- consuming large doses of vitamin C causes nausea