WHAT IS VITAMIN C?
Vitamin C must be one of the most well researched vitamins and therefore, there is a lot of information out there about it. Basically, Vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods and added to others. Unfortunately, humans are unable to make Vitamin C within our own bodies and therefore it must be sourced from food (this is referred to as an essential vitamin).
WHAT IS ITS ROLE WITHIN OUR BODIES?
Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, L-carnitine and certain neurotransmitters and is also involved in protein metabolism. Collagen is an important constituent of our connective tissues and is important for the process of healing wounds. L-carnitine is a compound that is essential during the metabolic processes in most mammals- including us humans. Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been proven to restore other antioxidants within the body. Vitamin C may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers such as those of the stomach, mouth and lungs. There have been studies that suggest that populations with diets rich in Vitamin-C have a reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin C is also essential to improve the absorption of nonheme iron (I’ll explain the difference between nonheme and heme iron in another post). Nonheme iron is the type of iron that we get from eating plant foods and therefore is the ONLY type of Iron that we are consuming on a plant-based diet and therefore the consumption of Vitamin C for vegans is super important. There is also ongoing research that Vitamin C can aid in the fight against infection however further research is still required to prove these theories.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT EAT ENOUGH VITAMIN C?
Generally, those deficient in vitamin C can experience the following symptoms:
– Increased susceptibility to illness and infections
– Poor sleep
Extreme Vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy which can have the following symptoms:
– Muscle pain/weakness
– Lack of appetite
– Rashes/ Red Spots
– Bleeding gums/ tooth loss
– Weight loss
HOW MUCH VITAMIN C DO I NEED?
0-6 months – 25mg/day
7-12 months – 30mg/day
1-8 years- 35mg.day
9-18 years- 40mg/day
19+ years – 45mg/day
*** during pregnancy and for breastfeeding mothers these amounts change ***
These amounts are the Recommended Daily Intake nutrient reference values suggested by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
WHERE CAN I GET VITAMIN C AS A VEGAN?
– Citrus fruits
– Bell peppers
– Green Vegetables