There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Vitamin C during this pandemic, with everyone being paranoid about their vitamin intake to keep COVID-19 at bay. Vitamin C tablets are the new must-have in every household.
So what exactly is Vitamin C? Should we be taking it additionally as tablets and is it worth all the hype? We understand your questions and are here to answer them.
What is Vitamin C?
To put it quite simply, Vitamin C is an essential, water-soluble vitamin that our body needs in small doses for a plethora of reasons. The meaning of an essential vitamin is that it is not naturally produced by our body. Thus, we need to consume it externally through our diet. However, a majority of us don’t even need additional Vitamin C as our normal healthy, well-balanced diet provides us with enough of it.
Since vitamin C is not stored by the body, it is imperative to keep a watch on your daily diet and include vitamin C in the form of fruits and vegetables. If vitamin C tablets are taken as supplements, 200 mg to 500 mg is a safe limit.
Vitamin C Foods
You can get your daily vitamin C quotient naturally from a variety of sources. Citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables are your best bet.
Other foods like berries, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers are also full of Vitamin C
Vitamin C Deficiency
Well, the most severe manifestation of Vitamin C deficiency is a disease called scurvy.
The most characteristic feature of scurvy is swollen, bleeding gums that may sometimes cause your teeth to fall out. The patient usually feels lethargic, weak, and has swollen joints and pain.
Apart from this, they also bruise easily. However, scurvy is seen mostly in people from lower socioeconomic strata and is unlikely to be found in first-world countries.
Benefits of Vitamin C Tablets
And at last, let us come to the thousands of benefits that Vitamin C has. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Vitamin C is an Immunity Booster
It helps to reduce free radical accumulation in the body and thus helps prevent oxidative stress. It helps fire up our body’s immune system and fight things like aging and inflammation, which has been linked to the reduction of many chronic diseases.
Vitamin C might help you bid goodbye to gout
Gout is a painful condition caused by inflammation of joints and is an extremely painful condition. It is caused due to accumulation of uric acid, a waste product in the body. Vitamin C helps reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood and thus helps prevent gout.
2. Vitamin C Will Keep Anemia at Bay
Iron is responsible for oxygen transportation in the body. Luckily, Vitamin C helps make sure that our iron levels are up.
This is thanks to the fact that consuming Vitamin C helps increase iron absorption in the body.
Vitamin C helps convert naturally obtained iron like those obtained from plants easier to absorb by the body
3. Keeps Diseases Away
Vitamin C plays a vital role in boosting your immunity.
Vitamin C even partakes in the process that produces white blood cells and lymphocytes, which are our main soldiers against infections.
It helps in strengthening the skin and is even proven to reduce the wound healing time. In fact, pneumonia patients given vitamin C supplements have been shown to recover faster.
4. Vitamin C Reduces the Risk of Dementia
Studies have shown that oxidative stress near the brain and the spine can increase the risk of dementia. However, since Vitamin C helps reduce oxidative stress, they help reduce the risk of dementia and memory loss.
Lastly, it also helps lower high blood pressure and your risk of getting any cardiovascular diseases.
So with that, we hope we’ve convinced you about the benefits of Vitamin C. Just make sure you consult your doctor before starting any supplements!
Precautions on Vitamin C Tablets
1. How much vitamin C should one be taking?
The daily dose of vitamin C required for adults is approximately 65 milligrams to 90 milligrams. A normal healthy person would not ideally need any additional vitamin C tablets as their daily needs are met from their diet itself.
There are however certain groups of people who run the risk of running low on vitamin C. Some of these cohorts are:
2. Smokers (both active and passive)
Studies have shown that due to higher oxidative stress in smokers, they need almost 35 mg per day more than non-smokers. Passive inhalation of smoke can also lead to a dip in vitamin C levels.
3. Infants who are not fed breast milk
Breast milk is a reservoir of multiple nutrients that a newborn needs, including Vitamin C. However, unfortunately in many developing countries babies are fed boiled or evaporated cow’s milk instead of their mother’s milk which can lead to severe malnutrition and vitamin C deficiency in the child
4. People with an unhealthy diet
Consuming a healthy and balanced diet is key in getting all vitamins, not just vitamin C. Green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits are strongholds of this vitamin. But if you’re someone who has a diet filled with junk food or only carbohydrates, your body’s Vitamin C stores are bound to get rapidly depleted. 5-6 helpings of fruits and vegetables like amla, oranges, mangoes, watermelon, dark leafy greens, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, pineapples, watermelon can fulfill the daily dietary requirement. If you are still falling short, you can always add a supplement to meet your daily needs.
5. People suffering from certain medical conditions
Patients who have been diagnosed with intestinal malabsorption or cachexia are usually prescribed extra tablets to maintain their Vitamin C levels. Patients with certain types of cancer as well as extremely severe renal disease might also need Vitamin C tablets.
Vitamin C – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are there any side effects of excessive intake of vitamin C?
A. Intake of vitamin C, for the most part, is quite harmless. If you do, however, take excessive amounts, you might face gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, stomach pain, bloating. Even fatigue, sleepiness, and sometimes insomnia is seen. However, some of the long-term, more harmful effects of excessive Vitamin C intake can include conditions such as kidney stones. You must mention you’re taking Vitamin C tablets to the doctor as they might interfere in tests such as stool tests for occult blood or glucose screening tests.
Q. Does Vitamin C help cure a common cold?
A. It is popularly believed that vitamin C helps cure your cold. Unfortunately, there isn’t any scientific evidence that proves that these claims are true. Vitamin C helps improve immunity and enhances better iron absorption in the body. All these lead to better health and reduce possibilities of cold, flu, etc. There is some evidence that taking vitamin C may prevent serious complications like pneumonia and lung diseases.
Q. Does Vitamin C help prevent cancer?
A. There have been studies that show the correlation between additional vitamin C intake and reduced incidence of certain types of cancer such as breast, colon, and lung cancer. These studies do not however confirm this relationship for sure. We are certain that as Vitamin C has so many beneficial properties and reduces oxidative stress, it’s bound to do better than harm.
Q. Is vitamin C good for the skin?
A. Vitamin C helps to fight signs of aging. It boosts collagen synthesis. It can repair dry, damaged skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Any amount of sunscreen application will not help to combat the harmful effects of UV rays if you are vitamin C deficient. Also, if you are a smoker, you need 35 mg more vitamin C to prevent the appearance of dark spots which are likely to develop on the skin, apart from all the other health hazards that come with smoking.
Q. Can you apply vitamin C tablets directly to the skin?
A. A lot of anti-aging products like serums, moisturizers contain vitamin C. These are products that brands have put in inadequate research to use vitamin C as an ingredient in a safe way. Vitamin C is an unstable ingredient and is prone to oxidation. That can reduce the potency of the product. Hence, a product that is researched and comes with proper storage instructions is better to opt for. However, there are several DIY face packs and homemade serums, wherein vitamin C tablets are crushed and used. The efficacy of these cannot be guaranteed.