Vitamin C is probably the best known of the big vitamin family. Every child knows that vitamin C is important for your health. No wonder, because it is the all-rounder among the nutrients. What effect Vitamin C has and how much you need it, will be covered in this article.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that can neither be self-produced nor stored by the body. Since it is involved in many metabolic processes and vital, it must be taken daily through the diet. Generally, the daily dose is 95 mg for women and 110 mg for men. How much vitamin C you actually need, however, depends on your physical and mental stress. With continued stress or at the first sign of a cold, the need may increase.
Vitamin C nice and good, but what is ascorbic acid? The answer is simple: Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid because, strictly speaking, it is an organic acid. In the organism, vitamin C in combination with other nutrients also acts as a kind of catalyst, because, for example, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin E can only be metabolized well together with vitamin C and unfold their full potential.
Take-home message # 1: Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and an essential vitamin that needs to be absorbed through the diet.
Benefits of Vitamin C
It is not for nothing that vitamin C is an all-rounder among vitamins because the list of beneficial properties is long. Among other things, ascorbic acid is important for …
the immune system
the blood vessels
the bone formation
the cartilage function
the energy metabolism
the nervous system
the iron intake
the vitamin E recovery
as an antioxidant
In short: Without Vitamin C in the body, various functions of our body would suffer.
Neither physically nor mentally, as many other nutrients can only be metabolized optimally by vitamin C. In addition, the regular intake of vitamin C can prevent some diseases: It helps to keep the vessels clean of deposits and is active in the fight against oxidative stress. Free radicals have little chance with vitamin C and are rendered harmless. It is also involved in the formation of hormones, such as stress hormones and sex hormones.
Your cognitive abilities can also support vitamin C: responsiveness, ability to concentrate, and attention is related to vitamin C. It can even help you relax after a period of tension.
Take-home message # 2: Without vitamin C in the body, all this with the different functions would be so easy, neither mentally nor physically. Its antioxidant properties, in particular, make vitamin C an important nutrient.
Vitamin C Deficiency
In this country, there is hardly a shortage of vitamin C, since the need for fresh fruit and vegetables is well covered by a balanced diet. As scurvy was previously referred to a shortage, which, however, usually only occurred in seafarers who were on the road for a long time and had no access to fresh food.
However, in the 17th century, the increased incidence of this deficiency was reason enough for research to be involved. By accident, the ship’s doctor James Lind discovered in 1754 that citrus fruits counteract the deficiency. Like vitamin C, however, ascorbic acid has only been known since the 20th century.
Although providing fresh food is not likely to be a problem, there is some risk of vitamin C deficiency for some people. Those who suffer from persistent and recurring gastrointestinal inflammation may not be able to absorb enough of the vitamin and may be deficient. Even with great physical or mental stress and stress, the vitamin C requirement is higher than normal. Smoking, medications, and alcohol are also vitamin killers.
By a blood test, the vitamin C level can be determined. At a value between 11 and 28 μmol / l, there is already a deficiency, a clear deficiency exists at less than 11 μmol / l.
If at the latest then not countered in time, first complaints may occur as …
increased susceptibility to infections
If it is still not reacted with an increased vitamin C intake, a deficiency can lead to further symptoms:
suboptimal wound healing
However, since vitamin C is already sufficient in small quantities and occurs in almost all animal and vegetable foods, such deficiency symptoms are extremely rare. Even a piece of fruit (such as a kiwi or an orange) equal the daily requirement.
Take-home message # 3: A lack of vitamin C is extremely rare. With stress and great physical effort, however, the demand increases.
Dosage of Vitamin C
How much vitamin C you need each day depends on your level of stress, your exercise, and your immune system. If you are permanently energized or sick again and again – especially in stressful situations when you should actually be able to – you can easily adjust the recommended daily requirement of 95 to 110 milligrams upwards to 150 to 200 milligrams.
Research by Frei, Birlouez-Aragon and Lykkesfeldt even found 200 milligrams per day as the optimum in order to benefit from the benefits of vitamin C. The Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute even believes that the daily dose is 400 milligrams, and supports this recommendation by observing several studies that examined the relationship between intake of vitamin C from dietary supplements and vitamin levels in the blood plasma.
An effect on the cortisol level is proven by a study from 2002. The response to a stressful situation was investigated on the basis of two control groups. Half of the 120 volunteers consumed 3000 mg of vitamin C daily for two weeks in advance, the other received a placebo. After the stress test, the cortisol levels of the vitamin C group decreased significantly faster. An individual survey also showed that they could handle the stress better.
Professional athletes should also rely on vitamin C. Firstly, it can support the function of mitochondria, and second, it may prevent muscle damage. Researchers at Guilan University in a 2008 study found that administering 1000 mg of vitamin C before a 30-minute exercise can prevent muscle injury.
Take-home message # 4: Performance athletes and people with permanent stress should increase their daily dose of vitamin C.
Vitamin C rich Foods
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the ideal sources of vitamin C. The fresher, the more vitamins are included. By long storage or heating, a large part of it is lost. Particularly good natural sources of vitamin C are
Absolute vitamin C bombs are acerola, rosehip, and sea buckthorn berries. In addition, even in many processed foods, the ascorbic acid powder is included as an additive, for example in apple juice, to retain its color and not turn brown during storage.
Vitamin C Supplements
Clearly, natural vitamin C from fresh food is better utilized by the body than supplementation. But when the demand skyrockets in stressful times or you just can not get enough fresh fruit and vegetables, you should take in more vitamin C in time to stay on top of all your work in the long term. There are a number of different vitamin C supplements to buy, such as …
Vitamin C capsules
Vitamin C tablets
Vitamin C powder
Often vitamin C is offered in the dosage 500 mg or 1000 mg. Whether high-dose or not: It is important that vitamin C is as natural as possible. Only then does it develop its full effect, ideally in combination with other nutrients. Synthetic products should be avoided as much as possible because they usually do more harm than good. In order to balance the acidity, the vitamin C must be buffered, to which the body must extract other minerals elsewhere.
Some people get problems with their stomach or digestion after taking ascorbic acid. Then the vitamin may be useful in the form of ascorbate, as it is considered more stomach-friendly.
Take Home Message # 5: Natural Vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables has high bioavailability. However, increased demand can also be compensated by supplements.
Vitamin C Overdose
Yes, you can actually consume too much Vitamin C. Up to 1 g / day still seems harmless. However, a vitamin C overdose of over 3 g is quickly manifested by nausea and diarrhea. However, such an overdose is extremely rare, because as vitamin C is water soluble, the excess ascorbic acid is simply excreted in the urine.