Vitamin C deficiency (severe vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy) occurs when the body for some reason does not get enough vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the essential substances (a substance we need to get in order to feel good) for us humans.
Most animals can produce vitamin C on their own. However, we are not human beings. Vitamin C deficiency is uncommon in USA today. Many associate the concept of scurvy, which vitamin C deficiency in its more serious form is usually called, with old sailors. In poorer parts of the world, however, this is still a current problem. People in the western world with poor diet can also suffer.
Vitamin C is found mainly in vegetables, berries and fruits. Citrus fruits such as lemon and orange are known as good sources of vitamin C. Rosehip, red pepper, broccoli and strawberry are also great ways to get more vitamin C. If you have access to the foods available in USA, it is relatively easy to avoid vitamin C deficiency through a varied diet. For example, an orange or a half pepper is sufficient to meet the daily need.
Good to know is that Vitamin C is a heat sensitive vitamin. Keeping food warm for a long time or heating food over and over again reduces the amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is also commonly called ascorbic acid.
Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency
Some symptoms of mild vitamin C deficiency are:
In the case of severe vitamin C deficiency, the typical symptoms of what is called scurvy come, such as:
- Inflammation of the gums
- More difficult to heal wounds
- Increased susceptibility to infection
What does Vitamin C in the body do?
Vitamin C has several different functions in the body. It is a so-called antioxidant, which means it helps maintain chemical balance in the body. Vitamin C is needed to build up the body’s tissue, such as bone and cartilage. It facilitates the absorption of the important mineral iron from what we eat and drink. Another task it has in the body is to create the protein collagen. Collagen is one of the body’s most important proteins, which among other things has the task of keeping the skin firm and smooth.
How much vitamin C do you need?
The vitamin C intake needed to feel good varies depending on age and some other factors. Pregnant and breast-feeding have a higher RDI (recommended daily intake) of vitamin C than other groups. The recommended daily intake for adults is 75 milligrams. There are many different supplements if you want to make sure you get enough vitamin C. However, they are usually unnecessary if you have a varied diet, since vitamin C is found in many different foods. Vitamin C is also added in many foods.
Vitamin C and cold
In many, vitamin C is associated with the cure and prevention of colds. There are many different opinions in this area, but in general, vitamin C is not believed to have the strong effect on previously indicated infections. It is probably right not to think of vitamin C as a miracle cure for colds. However, a varied diet with enough of all vital vitamins and minerals is a way to get good general health and maximize the function of the immune system.
Can you get too much vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that disappears from the body with the urine. A very high intake of vitamin C is not considered to cause serious damage, but you can get symptoms such as diarrhea. It may also be a source of kidney stones in sensitive individuals.