Vitamin C – Should you be taking it? Is it safe? And what are the benefits

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A quick search on the Internet yields a plethora of claims that Vitamin C in tablet form or supplement form, is a good source of vitamin C. But how much vitamin C does a person need to meet their daily requirements?

People require at least 40mg per day and should not exceed 1000mg. A healthy amount would be between 400mg and 700mg per day for adults aged between 19 and 64. Now you shouldn’t just rely on a pill a day. The best way to ensure you are getting the correct amount of Vitamin C is with a healthy and balanced diet. Taking too much Vitamin C can cause stomach pains and diarrhea.

So where do these recommendations come from?

The FDA does an extensive series of studies on the effect of Vitamin C on human health and the effect of Vitamin C on human mortality. These studies are very detailed. In a nutshell, what the FDA finds most commonly when it comes to taking Vitamin C is that it does not change mortality much when people take large doses. It’s not really a reason to avoid taking a Vitamin C supplement at all, other than if you are a very elderly person or someone is very physically active or a young child.

The Institute of Medicine also has several reports that address the question of whether or not people who take large doses of Vitamin C are at a greater risk of heart disease and cancer. In the end it seems as though most experts agree that the increased risk does exist, but the increased risk is not statistically significant. In the reports they actually find that people who consume large amounts of Vitamin C seem to have a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer rather than increased as initially expected.

In addition, the FDA has conducted several other reviews of the Vitamin C studies as well. Most of these are looking at the most important studies that were previously done. Most of the data that the FDA collects comes from these studies, and the most recent review also included other randomized controlled trials and observational studies. In that review they found a very similar conclusion to the Institute of Medicine. The report makes a list of all of the research that was done on Vitamin C. In that list they find that the evidence that people need a minimum of 40mg per day. Most studies suggested that the risk for many of Vitamin C’s side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding are minimal when taken as recommended.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a role throughout the body in nearly all biochemical processes. Vitamin C plays a key role in the maintenance of healthy skin; it is also essential for the proper functioning of your heart and kidneys. Vitamin C can have the capability of keeping inflammation at bay in many types of inflammatory conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disorders, arthritis and even cancer. Vitamin C can be essential for your overall health, especially if it is supplemented, and can serve you in many situations; however, if you are deficient in vitamin C, you may have an increased risk of many diseases.

Vitamin C Supplementation

The most common dietary sources of vitamin C are tomato juice and soft drinks. They do not provide much benefit. For most people, foods, such as fruits or vegetables containing vitamin C, are the best options for providing high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C can also be obtained from certain supplements. An adequate intake of vitamin C may be obtained through supplementation with either ascorbic acid or vitamin C. Foods that are rich in vitamin C include:

  • Oranges and Orange Juice
  • Potatoes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Blackcurrants

Vitamins (ascorbic acid): Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is found in many different fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and many more. Vitamin C can be obtained from ascorbic acid or supplementation with ascorbic acid tablets.

With all the ways you can get your daily dose of Vitamin C, there really is no reason to be Vitamin C deficient. For more information on vitamins please see our other article: Do Vitamins really work?

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