Vitamin C: What You Should Know

Sources, Benefits, Forms, Dosage 

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is one of thirteen essential vitamins. Essential vitamins need to be present in the diet because the human body cannot make the nutrients on its own, or in sufficient amounts to sustain normal and healthy bodily functions.1 Vitamin C is considered an essential vitamin due to its many physiological health benefits, and along with being essential it is also water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and the eight B vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored in the liver or fatty-tissue like with fat-soluble vitamins.1 Since water-soluble vitamins are easily flushed out of the body it is uncommon to develop toxic side effects.

Benefits of Vitamin C – There are many

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that provides protection from free radicals and also supports the immune system. Research suggests that it may play a role in the reduction of the duration of the common cold, but only when taken as a preventive measure before getting sick.1,2 Evidence suggests that Vitamin C may aid in the prevention of the common cold, but only for unique populations, such as athletes taking 200 mg/day.2

In addition to immune support, Vitamin C supports the synthesis of neurotransmitters, and also collagen, which is an essential protein found in connective tissue, which in turn supports wound healing.1,2 Vitamin C also enhances the bioavailability and nutrient uptake of certain micronutrients such as iron from plant food sources, copper, and chromium.1

Due to Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties, research demonstrates probable cause that Vitamin C plays a role in the prevention of certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related macular degeneration.2

Forms of Vitamin C – Which is best?

Vitamin C is found in the form of L-ascorbic acid, which can be found naturally in foods, used to fortify foods, and as a dietary supplement.2 Supplemental forms of Vitamin C can be found either naturally or synthetically. Types of Vitamin C forms found in supplements are ascorbic acid, mineral ascorbates, or Vitamin C bound to bioflavonoids.3

Mineral ascorbates are salts of ascorbic acid which are recommended to people who have sensitive stomachs, or who experience gastrointestinal issues with higher pH levels.3 Popular forms of mineral ascorbates are sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, and other mineral ascorbates that are typically found together.1

Research does not have enough evidence to prove a difference in absorption between natural and synthetic forms of Vitamin C.4 However, other micronutrients found in foods such as bioflavonoids, which are compounds found in plant food sources, may improve the bioavailability of Vitamin C when combined together.4 Therefore, forms of Vitamin C bound with bioflavonoids are thought to increase the bioavailability of Vitamin C and enhance its therapeutic benefits.4,5

Sources of Vitamin C – From food and nutrition supplements

Most animals can make Vitamin C on their own, however, humans lack the capability to create their own, therefore Vitamin C must be present in the diet.4 Many fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of Vitamin C. Dietary sources rich in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, tomatoes, and potatoes.6 Vitamin C content is highest when the food source is fresh and raw, as the nutrient value of Vitamin C decreases after cooking or storing for long period of time.6 Vitamin C is also found in supplemental form and has equivalent bioavailability to Vitamin C food sources.1 For maximum Vitamin C benefits it is recommended to supplement Vitamin C in divided doses.7

Recommended daily dose of Vitamin C – What physicians advise

The recommended daily dose for nutrients is unique to a person’s age, gender, and other personal factors. The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C as a reference to meet the needs of healthy individuals. For infants the RDA has not been established, but an adequate intake (AI) level of 40 – 50 mg has been set as a guideline for nutritional adequacy. The RDA of Vitamin C for healthy adults is 90 mg/day for men and 75 mg/day for women.2

Recommended Dietary Allowance
(RDA) of Vitamin D
Infants (0 – 12 months) 40 – 50 mg/day AI
Children (1 – 8 years) 15 – 25 mg/day
Adolescents (9 – 18 years) 45 – 75 mg/day
Adults (19+ years) 75 – 90 mg/day
Pregnant and Lactating Women 80 – 120 mg/day


Table 1: Daily Vitamin C Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) to Meet the Needs of Healthy Indivduals2

Certain populations may need to be more mindful when evaluating their Vitamin C needs. It is recommended for smokers to increase their Vitamin C intake by an additional 35 mg/day because they are exposed to more free radicals than non-smokers.1 Other individuals who are recommended to consult with their physicians to determine Vitamin C needs include those undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and those using statin medications.With any particular medication or health condition it is always best to consult with your primary healthcare provider before taking the Healthycell® products or any nutrition supplement.

Vitamin C toxicity – uncommon

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, so it is not stored in the body, and is generally not seen as toxic as excess amounts are excreted from the body. Excessive amounts of Vitamin C can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, nausea, or diarrhea, and there is the potential of the formation of kidney stones.1 To avoid these side effects, it is recommended to consume less than 1 g (gram) per day of Vitamin C and the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for adults is 2 g or 2,000 mg per day.8

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of Vitamin C
Infants (0 – 12 months)
Children (1 -8 years) 400 – 650 mg/day
Adolescents (9 – 18 years) 1,200 – 1,800 mg/day
Adults (19+ years) 2,000 mg/day
Pregnant and Lactating Women 1,800 – 2,000 mg/day

Table 2: Daily Vitamin C Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)1

Vitamin C deficiency, symptoms, and people at risk

Scurvy is a potentially fatal disease that is caused by severe Vitamin C deficiency. It is characterized with symptoms such as bleeding gums, delayed healing, easily bruised skin, fatigue, edema, susceptibility to infection, and petechial hemorrhage, which is bleeding underneath the skin.6 As Vitamin C helps produce the protein collagen that is found in body tissue, a deficiency causes inadequate collagen production which is the cause behind many of the symptoms of scurvy.2

Scurvy was popular until the 18th century, but has become a rare condition.2 It is still seen in malnourished populations, cancer patients, elderly men, and those with alcohol or drug addiction.8 Scurvy occurs when Vitamin C intake is under 10 mg/day for a long period of time.8

Vitamin C in Healthycell® Pro

The form of Vitamin C Healthycell® Pro uses is calcium and magnesium ascorbate. The dosage of Vitamin C in Healthycell® Pro is 100 mg in the morning formula and 20 mg in the evening formula, for a daily dose of 120 mg, satisfying 200% of the Daily Value (%DV).

The form of Vitamin C Healthycell® uses is calcium ascorbate. The dosage of Vitamin C in Healthycell® is 120 mg in the morning formula and 120 mg in the evening formula, for a daily dose of 240 mg, satisfying 400% of the Daily Value (%DV). Nutrition supplement labeling and food labeling guidelines use Reference Daily Intake (RDI) as the standard for dosage.

References

1. McGuire, Michelle, PhD, and Kathy Beerman A., PhD. “Chapter 10 Water-

Soluble Vitamins.” Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food. 2nd ed.

Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2007. 466-70. Print.

2. “Vitamin C — Health Professional Fact Sheet.” U.S National Library of

Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.

3. “Supplemental Forms.” Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute, 03

Aug. 2016. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.

4. Carr, Anitra C., and Margreet C.M Vissers. “Synthetic or Food-Derived

Vitamin C—Are They Equally Bioavailable?” Nutrients 5.11 (2015): 4284-

304. MDPI. MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland, Oct. 2013. Web. June 2017.

5. Bruno, Gene, MS, MHS. “Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids.” Smart

Supplementation(n.d.): n. pag. Huntington College of Health Sciences.

Huntington College of Health Sciences, 2002. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

6. Moore, Marisa, MBA, RDN, LD. “How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy

Immune System.” Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 21 Dec. 2015.

Web. 09 Sept. 2016.

7. Balch, Phyllis A., CNC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 4th ed. New

York: Avery, Print.

8. Brasaemle, Dawn, PhD. “Vitamin C Lecture.” Rutgers University – Vitamin

C. New Brunswick. 2015. Lecture.