What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) is an essential vitamin. It is essential because it is not found naturally in the body and it cannot be stored. Therefore a body needs a daily dose of Vitamin C to maintain optimum health.
Why is it important?
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps strengthen the body’s natural defences. It protects cells against harmful free radicals. If too many free radicals build up in the body, they can cause oxidative stress which is linked to the onset of many chronic illnesses and disease.
Vitamin C also helps to fight inflammation in the body and lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels that carry blood to the heart.
vitamin c and the skin
Vitamin C is a normal skin constituent found at high levels in both the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and dermis (inner layer of skin). Ageing causes a decline in Vitamin C content of both the epidermis and dermis. The greatest effects of Vitamin C supplementation are seen when it is combined with other micronutrients, such as Vitamin E and zinc.
- Supports collagen synthesis
- Assists in protection against UV-induced photo-damage
For adults, the recommended daily amount for Vitamin C is 65mg to 90mg per day, with an upper limit of 2,000 mg per day.
The best way to ensure you have the correct levels of Vitamin C in your body is to eat a healthy diet, with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables. For example a single satsuma will provide you with about 40% of your recommended daily target of Vitamin C.
However, not everyone manages to get their full allowance of Vitamin C from food everyday so topping up your levels with a supplement can help, but it is important to be careful, since Vitamin C is an acid, so some supplements can irritate the stomach. A good idea is to look for a Vitamin C supplement that is ‘buffered’. This means that there is a protective coating around the Vitamin C so it does not irritate the stomach. Most standard Vitamin C supplements available on the market are not buffered.
Source of Vitamin C
High sources of Vitamin C can be found in:
- Oranges and other citrus fruits and juice
- Peppers of all colours
- Strawberries, blackcurrants and other berries
- Broccoli, brussel sprouts and potatoes