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Vitamin C Facts

What is Vitamin C?
How is Vitamin C used by the body?
How much Vitamin C do I need in my diet?
Which foods are good sources of Vitamin C??
What is Vitamin C deficiency?
What is Vitamin C toxicity?
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What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid, which is the form of vitamin C found in most foods. It is a water-soluble vitamin and cannot be stored in the body. Most plants and animals can produce their own vitamin C, but humans cannot. For this reason, humans must eat ample amounts of vitamin C every day.

Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that helps boost the body’s immune system, which is why people often eat oranges or a Vitamin C supplement to prevent colds.

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How is Vitamin C used by the body?

Vitamin C is needed for proper growth, development, and to heal wounds. It is used to make the collagen tissue for healthy teeth, gums, blood vessels and bones. Since vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, it is also used to prevent damage to our bodies from toxicities and pollutants, such as cigarette smoke.

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How much Vitamin C do I need in my diet?

Men should consume 90 mg per day of vitamin C while women need 75 mg per day.

Smokers should add an extra 35 mg per day to these numbers, because vitamin C is depleted as an antioxidant in smokers.  Additional vitamin C is needed to ensure its other roles are performed.

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Which foods are good sources of Vitamin C??

Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, green and red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, spinach, mangos, winter squash, cantaloupe, broccoli, and potatoes (sweet and white).

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What is Vitamin C deficiency?

Vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy. This was once a common and fatal disease among sailors who were unable to eat fresh fruits and vegetables for long periods of time. Scurvy usually starts with skin rashes and bleeding gums. The skin also becomes rough, scaly, and dry.

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What is Vitamin C toxicity?

Vitamin C toxicity is rare since vitamin C is regularly flushed from the body.  It is usually only seen when taking more than 2000 mg of vitamin C per day. Too much vitamin C can lead to kidney stones and may occasionally cause diarrhea.

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