Vitamin C, which is also called ascorbic acid, is a vitamin that your body requires for good health. Your body uses it to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels and to help with the absorption of iron. Vitamin C can be found in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, and oranges. Currently the recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 milligrams for men ages 18 and older and 75 milligrams for women 18 and older. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need larger quantities and should check with their doctors. Children require different amounts of vitamin C based on their ages.
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, which is a serious disease that can even lead to sudden death. This is rare and happens only in cases of severe deficiency. Scurvy may occur in people who are malnourished or in infants whose only source of nourishment is breast milk. Patients with scurvy are treated with vitamin C, and their symptoms usually improve within 24 to 48 hours.
There are many proposed uses for vitamin C. In particular, researchers continue to investigate the use of this vitamin to prevent or treat colds and respiratory infections, although for the most part they’ve been unable to show that it causes any significant reduction in the risk of developing a cold. However, the vitamin may shorten the duration of colds in the general population. In people living in very cold temperatures or those who exercise at extreme levels, vitamin C may lead to as much as a 50 percent drop in the risk of developing a cold. Vitamin C has not been shown to be beneficial in the prevention of cataracts, heart disease, or cancer, although research is constantly being done to evaluate its effects.
1. Your body cannot store vitamin C, so it is extremely rare to develop vitamin CC toxicity.
2. Consuming more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day may lead to upset stomach and diarrhea.
3. Scurvy was widespread in the British navy until limes were added to the sailors’ diets. This is believed to be the reason British sailors were called limeys.