The lowdown on vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that your body needs for numerous daily functions. Since your body doesn’t store it, developing a vitamin C deficiency is easier than you might expect: You need to consume C daily—preferably through foods rich in vitamin C. Most people think of oranges—and they are a great source—but many other fruits and vegetables are loaded with this nutrient, like strawberries, kiwi, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cauliflower.
Adult women need at least 75mg of vitamin C daily, while adult men need at least 90mg, but some studies suggest that 500 to 1,000mg daily is optimal. You can easily get what you need from food: Broccoli and strawberries both have about 85mg vitamin C per cup, while a small orange provides just over 50mg. But for some people, supplements can help. These are the vitamin brands nutrition experts trust.
What does vitamin C do?
Vitamin C is necessary for tissue growth and repair all over your body. It helps in the production of collagen, which is used to make skin, blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. It also is needed for wound healing, iron absorption, and maintaining bone health. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, helping to reduce the damage caused by free radicals and thereby helping prevent the development of conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Severe vitamin C deficiency is a serious condition, known for centuries as the sometimes fatal disease scurvy. While scurvy is fairly uncommon now, evidence suggests that many people have low levels of vitamin C, which can be harmful to your health even if you’re not deficient by much. Here’s how your body is telling you you’re running low on other key vitamins.