Here I am, eating the 6th mandarin in a row, thinking about whether to have another one or not. Did you ever wonder if we can have too much vitamin C? What good does it do to our bodies and what that little thingie is anyway? Those and many more questions will be answered in the text. Cold autumn has started and I am still having a runny nose so the topic is spot on.
CC0 licence, Pixabay, author: Saramukitza , adapted by me
Speaking of mandarins, I do not like when they are too sour. They have to be somewhere between sweet and sour for my taste so finding just the right ones can be a challenge sometimes but hey, what is life if not a series of little challenges? 7th mandarin is done, I wonder how much will I eat by the end of the post...
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that our bodies need to function normally. It is also known as L-ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid, or L-ascorbate. It can be both an antioxidant and pro-oxidant, depending on what the body needs. This vitamin is a water-soluble, carbohydrate-like substance that is involved in many processes, from maintaining bones, skin, and blood vessels to the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters.
L-ascorbic acid, public domain, wikipedia, author: Yikrazuul
Human beings, unlike goats, cannot produce their own vitamin c. Yes, I said goats. Luckily, it occurs naturally in some foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Being an organic compound (meaning that it contains the elements carbon and oxygen), it exists in living things but our bodies DO NOT store it. This means that we have to have a daily intake of it for our production of collagen, L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitters to be normal and healthy.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C: for adult men 90 milligrams, for adult women 75 milligrams.
From National Institute of Health
This vitamin was discovered in 1912 and was first time chemically produced in 1933. Ever since then, we are able to buy supplements when fresh fruits and vegetables are not available. Just remember that our bodies do not store it so taking too much of it only produces, as Sheldon from BBT would say, a very expensive pee. Keep in mind that vitamin C is easily destroyed by reactions with oxygen in neutral and alkaline solution or at elevated temperatures so preserving it in foods is quite difficult. That is why you should not add lemon to your hot tea but wait for the liquid to cool down a bit. The interesting thing that is often forgotten about this vitamin is the fact that its antioxidant properties provide neuroprotective effects and benefits for blood flow. It acts on neurology and depression, interacts with the pancreas, modulates cortisol, and preserves testosterone levels. Did you hear that boys? Eat your mandarins and protect your testes from oxidative stress.
According to National Institutes of Health, the best source of this vitamin are cantaloupes, citrus fruits, kiwis, mangos, papayas, pineapples, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon and cranberries when it comes to fruit ,and red and green peppers, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip greens and other leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, winter squash and Brussels sprouts when it comes to vegetables.
Raw foods are best,
heat destroys some of the vitamin C.
Only one smaller size orange has 70 mg or 78% of daily needed vitamin C. As for my sweet mandarins that I am still enjoying (9 of them so far), they are just as good. In 100 g of mandarins, there is 26,7 mg or 32%. I just weighed them and it turns out that one of them is around 100 grams (when peeled, without the skin that you do not eat anyway) and that means that with 9 of them, I have provided my body with 288% of the daily needed amount. Since I am a smoker and my need for this vitamin is higher than for non-smokers, I am fine with this number. Besides, I have never once overdosed with this vitamin and am able to tolerate higher amounts.
Some surprises turned up...
While doing some research for this post, I did get surprised by some of the products that are high in vitamin C. Those are chili peppers with one red chili pepper delivering 72% of DV, and thyme with one ounce (28 grams) of fresh thyme providing 45 mg of vitamin C, or 50% of the DV. Citrus fruits are the most famous ones and when talking about this vitamin most people mention them as the source but there are other fruits and vegetable that even exceed the amount of vitamin C that is in citrus fruits.
Is it possible to take too much vitamin C?
"For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2000 mg a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements might cause side effects."
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
To have too much vitamin C is possible but given how we live our lives and what we eat, it is highly improbable. Never the less, you should have this information too and be careful especially if you are taking supplements. Here are the side effect of long-term having more than 2000 mg of vitamin C:
- Abdominal cramps
- A headache
You should be more concerned with symptoms of not having enough of this vitamin which unfortunately happens more often. Not getting enough of vitamin C can cause easy bruising, gingivitis and bleeding gums, dry and splitting hair, rough, dry, scaly skin, a decreased wound-healing rate, nosebleeds and a decreased ability to ward off infection. An extreme lack of vitamin C for long periods of time can cause scurvy.
“An estimated 40 percent of men and 38 percent of women are getting insufficient amounts of vitamin C. If you’re not eating your fruits and veggies, it’s a good idea to supplement,”
Dr. Brian Dixon (Health and Science Education at USANA Health Sciences)
The funny thing is, we all talk about how vitamin C is important to fight the common cold when in fact it has almost nothing to do with it. The research Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold
by Douglas RM, Chalker EB, and Treacy B from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia tells us how most people taking high doses of Vitamin C still get the common cold just as often as those who don’t take high doses. Vitamin C can shorten the amount of time a person is sick and lessen the symptoms. This means that vitamin C will not prevent you from getting sick but it will help you to get better a bit faster (-0.07% to a 39% reduction in symptom days).
Forget the common cold,
vitamin C is beneficial for more important things.
Our bodies need vitamin C to form collagen, to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, and they use it to repair and maintain cartilage, bones and teeth, to heal wounds and to form scar tissue.
There was a study Antioxidant Vitamins and Zinc Reduce Risk of Vision Loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration
by the National Eye Institute that revealed how an intake of 500 mg per day of vitamin C, along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc supplements, slowed the progression of advanced age-related macular degeneration by about 25 percent and helped slow visual acuity loss by 19 percent for those who are already at high risk of developing the disease.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant
The most beneficial thing that vitamin C does for our bodies is the strengthening of our natural defenses. As an antioxidant, it boosts the immune system by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. You do not want to have an accumulation of free radicals because they can promote a state known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases. Studies have shown how consuming enough vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%. You can read some of those studies by clicking on the following links:
Influence of Vitamin C Supplementation on Oxidative Stress and Neutrophil Inflammatory Response in Acute and Regular Exercise
by Ljiljana M. Popovic, Nebojsa R. Mitic, Dijana Miric, Boban Bisevac, Mirjana Miric, and Brankica Popovic from the Institute of Pathophysiology, Medical Faculty Pristina, 38220 Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia, Institute of Biochemistry, Medical Faculty Pristina, 38220 Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia, Institute of Physiology, Medical Faculty Pristina, 38220 Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia, Department of Informatics and Computer Sciences, Academy of Criminalistic and Police Studies, Cara Dusana 196, 11080 Belgrade, Serbia
Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress before and after Vitamin C Supplementation by Helaine M. Alessio, Allan H. Goldfarb, Guohua Cao from PHS Department, Miami University, Oxford, O, the Department of Exercise Science, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC, the Human Nutrition Research Center, University of Connecticut, Storrs
Vitamin C does more than you think!
If you are anemic, this vitamin will help because consuming only 100 mg of vitamin C may improve iron absorption by 67% because it improves the absorption of iron. Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells and helps them to function more effectively. It also helps strengthen the barriers of the skin.
Exploring all the benefits of this vitamin almost makes us think that it is good for everything. You are not that wrong to conclude that. Our bodies need it to function properly and healthy because it helps both our immune system and cardiovascular system.
When it comes to cancer treatment or prevention, some studies have linked vitamin C intake to a lower risk of several cancers but most of them have found that vitamin C does not affect the risk of developing cancer. Vitamin C may prevent cancer by blocking the damage made by free radicals. According to Dr. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California:
"Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that we are exposed to in the environment such as air pollution, cigarette smoke and ultraviolet light from the sun,”
Dr. Sherry Ross
Like I always say, when we stop wasting our resources on military and divert the money to science and education, who knows what wonders we will discover. For now, building weapons seems to be more important than treating illness. The conclusion regarding cancer is that we need more research and research costs money. Hopefully, one day we will figure out how science and our health deserve more funds than the military.
Eating foods with vitamin C is an important step toward good health and disease prevention so if I have gotten you interested in learning more about it, check out these REFERENCES:
Vitamin C: Sources & Benefits from livescience.com by Alina Bradford
7 Impressive Ways Vitamin C Benefits Your Body from healthline.com by Ryan Raman, MS, RD (NZ)
Vitamin C from wikipedia
20 Foods That Are High in Vitamin C from healthline.com by Caroline Hill, MHumNutr
Vitamin C from mayoclinic.org
Is it possible to take too much vitamin C? from mayoclinic.org
Summary of Vitamin C from examine.com
Vitamin C: Why is it important? from medicalnewstoday.com by Joseph Nordqvist, reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
Until next time,
KEEP YOUR SMILE ON
and eat healthy!
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- all images used in this post are free for commercial use, they are royalty free with the links to original images provided under them
- line divider that I use is from FREE CLIPART LIBRARY, and is here
- title pictures are made by me using the CC0 images from pixabay that can be found here
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