VITAMIN C - fighting more than just the common cold

in steemstem •  6 months ago
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:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal cramps
  • A headache
  • Insomnia
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:

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 by Alina Bradford
7 Impressive Ways Vitamin C Benefits Your Body from by Ryan Raman, MS, RD (NZ)
Vitamin C from wikipedia
20 Foods That Are High in Vitamin C from by Caroline Hill, MHumNutr
Vitamin C from
Is it possible to take too much vitamin C? from
Summary of Vitamin C from
Vitamin C: Why is it important? from by Joseph Nordqvist, reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT

Until next time,
and eat healthy!

Image sources AND LICENCES in order of appearance:

- 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
- my bitmoji avatar was created on, visit the site to create yourown



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Thank you 💚💚💚

Interesting post. I'll have to make a point to eat more of the listed fruits and veggies, I'm pretty sure I don't get enough vitamin C along with a lot of other things XD


I too have to remind myself from time to time to take it more seriously, you are not the only one 💚

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Having a concert and fendingvwith a nasty cold, also fourth i call tem tangerines in a row


Hope you will get better soon honey 💚💚💚


Thank you, concert is tomorroe leaving by train today, tired, still in rough shape. Snif

I've never dived this deep into the specifics of vitamin C. Very interesting, thank you! It makes it more compelling to ensure we get a good daily dose over the winter. I just made a rose hip syrup, surprisingly 1 cup has 900% of your daily vitamin C need - it's a hassle however to extract that juice and we are only taking a few spoons of it per day but it's a start.


Rose hips are full of vitamin C and yes I have heard about that syrup being extra amazing for our health. So good of you to make it, enjoy it! 💚

Ahhh Petra. Another really splendid post. Well written and researched it's just great!

Late in his life two time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling was extolling the virtues of mega doses of vitamin C. 2000 mg and more. I took huge doses for several years... Now my tendency is to take it through food. Lemon in my iced tea, peppers, cabbage.

The Mandarins. I just love them, and there are lots of them raised around here. They are not particularly conducive to my diet but I'll have at least one day this winter with double digit mandarins.

Thank you for a really solid post!


Eat your mandarins honey, you are lucky to have them around and they really are very healthy for you. Thank you for your support and always such nice words that you leave for me 💚

So much excellent information! Throughout all three of my pregnancies (and the few bouts of anemia in later years) I made a point to take a chewable vitamin C with my liquid iron supplement, and it helped tremendously! Thanks for putting this together - I feel like I just read an article in a high end health magazine!


Oh, how lovely of you to say that 💚


'Tis only the truth, my dear. 😊

I also adore mandarins and oranges)) It was interesting to read, thank you))


I am happy that you enjoyed the read 💚

What’s interesting nowadays is people trying the carnivore diet with no vitamin c. I wonder if there is a conversion process we don’t know about yet where we turn other things into vitamin c.


Well, there are people out there who live only by drinking water and looking into the Sun and I personally know people who are really healthy on meat diets and those that are healthy on only veggies. I think our bodies while they are very similar are still not exactly the same and that there is a lot of adaption to the environment and lifestyles going on. There are no veggies where Eskimos live and yet, they live :)


Individual nutrition needs are key I think.

Who lives via water sun & no food & how long do they live? Is there proof?


Not that I am aware of :) Just stories about the monks up there somewhere. I absolutely agree that individual nutrition is the key, our bodies are different. I have a friend who eats like there are 3 people inside him and is super thin, he does not even exercise. Another friend lives of junk food and coca cola, healthy and fit too. I on the other hand drink water and it turns to fat and goes to my hips :D :D :D

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Thank you for your support 💚💚💚

Vitamin C is in so many ways useful. i use it most times after sports for better regeneration.


Vitamin C and Magnesium are very important to take if we are exercising or doing sports. Our bodies need them even more then. Thank you for your comment 💚

You can include also the Nobel prize winner for Vitamin C research Prof. Dr. Linus Pauling.


Yeah, I have heard about it, thank you for reminding me 💚

Yeah excellent information... And I thought it was only good for avoiding scurvy and the common cold!!!

But Goats...? Really, they make their own vitamine c???

Thanks for the very informative read on what seems to be an underrated vitamine.


Yup, goats make their own vitamin c, around 13 mg per day :) I am glad you enjoyed the post 💚

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Thank you 💚💚💚

Vitamin C is fantastic - it's also a natural preservative - why things like tomatoes and citrus keep so well. And why ascorbic acid is used as a preservative.


Yeah, it really is. I often put lemon juice over apples to keep them from turning brown. Thank you for your lovely comment 💚

6 going on to 7 mandarins? It seems like you have a problem there... although, it is the same thing with my youngest one. I'm starting to suspect that she likes peeling them more than eating them though!

But back on track, thanks for the interesting information about Vitamin C, I didn't really know much about it beforehand, and now I know a fair bit more!


I do that with food and music too. I take in the same thing so many times until I am in overload mood and can not see it anymore lol :D What is the best way to feel disgusted with a song? Listen to it over and over 100 times, works with food too :)


I've never tried listening to food, but I'll take your word for it!

Oh what a beautiful post Petra! I love those images you used, makes the entire article looks so polished. And your formatting! Oh girl you’re on point !!

I eat a lot of mandarins, but here we call them naartjies (pronounces naar-tch-ee). Lol I wonder where that comes from.!?

Lovely post, restteeeeemed to da moon!


Thank you so so so much for your lovely support, it is really appreciated. I am glad you enjoyed the post 💚


Yeah, you do a fantastic job of making this look professional. Well done!

I had the bad habit of taking it after I got the flu/cold... hahaha


Yeah, you should take enough of it all the time ;)


I know, sometimes is just being lazy, until the time needed then only feel regrets... hahaha

Interesting to learn more about Vitamin C, one I never looked into or know if I get enough of or not. I have been looking at more Vitamin D through oranges and getting out in the sun some more.


Well, if you have been eating a lot of oranges than you had enough of vitamin C too ;)

Just learnt so much about vitamin c!! and the fact about goats :D


Goat facts are important, goats are awesome :)

Vitamin C is amazing stuff and is vitally important to get enough daily. Great informative post @zen-art.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. You have clearly taken the time to research the topic extensively, and then put together a web written, and exceptionally presented article. Thank you for taking the time to present such a wonderful post.

As one of the ignorant people who believed that Vitamin C was able to stave off the common cold, I was in desperate need of the valuable information you presented.

Again, thank you for taking the time to present such an excellent post.