Vitamin C: Protector of Disease and Producer of Collagen
Updated: Jun 8
Vitamin C Sources
Strawberries (1 cup, sliced): 84.7 mg
Broccoli (1 cup, chopped): 81.2 mg
Kale (1 cup, chopped): 80.4 mg
Brussels sprouts (1 cup): 74.8 mg
Bell peppers (1 cup, sliced) 74 mg
Orange (1 medium): 67.9 mg
Cantaloupe (1 cup, cubed): 58.7 mg
Cauliflower (1 cup): 46.4 mg
Tomatoes (1 cup, sliced): 22.9 mg
Vitamin C, which can also be referred to as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties that protect the body from disease by improving immune functions. Research suggests that the antioxidant properties of vitamin C may provide some protection against cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, and diseases of the eye.
Vitamin C also plays a significant role in producing collagen which is a connective tissue found in skin, bones, teeth, ligaments, and tendons. Vitamin C also helps improve the absorption of iron from foods.
The best sources of vitamin C are vegetables and fruits such as strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, cantaloupe, and tomatoes.
The RDA (Recommended Dietary Intake) for vitamin C ranges between 75 mg and 90 mg based on gender, weight, and height. During times of infection or wound healing, it is recommended to increase intake.
For smokers, an additional 35 mg is highly recommended daily due to the cigarette smoke causing oxidation in the blood. The extra vitamin C is needed to repair damage caused by the free radicals.
The UL for vitamin C is 2000 mg per day. In general, consuming large amounts of vitamin C will not result in toxicity because any excess is passed from the body through urine. however, regular intake above 2000 mg per day may cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Although it is rare, consuming under 10 mg of Vitamin C regularly may cause scurvy; a deficiency with symptoms that include swollen or bleeding gums, loosening of the teeth, impaired wound healing, and general weakness.
Doseděl M, Jirkovský E, Macáková K, Krčmová LK, Javorská L, Pourová J, Mercolini L, Remião F, Nováková L, Mladěnka P, on behalf of The OEMONOM. Vitamin C—Sources, Physiological Role, Kinetics, Deficiency, Use, Toxicity, and Determination. Nutrients. 2021; 13(2):615.
Gangwar, V., Kumar, D., & Kumar, A. Essentiality of Vitamin C as Protective and Immunity Booster in Human Dietry. 2022
Trakselis, Linda J., and Eric M. Stein. Culinary Nutrition: Principles and Applications. American Technical Publishers, Inc., 2019.