How it works
Vitamin C is essential for the body's production and maintenance of healthy collagen, which holds together cells in the skin, gums, and tendons. It also helps the white blood cells to fight infection and is vital for the efficient healing of wounds. An anti-oxidant, vitamin C can help neutralize potential damaging free radicals that trigger ageing and cancerous changes. It circulates in the blood, with any excess lost in the urine.
Absorption helpers Bioflavanoids, which are found in fruits and vegetables enhance the absorption of vitamin C, which works best in conjunction with the minerals calcium and magnesium.
Absorption inhibitors Smoking, the contraceptive pill, the drug tetracyclin (for infections and acne), aspirin, and corticosteroid drugs (for treating rheumatoid arthritis) all reduce vitamin C levels.
vitamin C supplements
The adult RDA for vitamin C (60mg) is equivalent to one glass of orange juice. The upper safe limit is considered to be 3000mg (3g) for short-term use and 2000mg (2g) for long-term use. Optimum nutritionists recommend daily intakes from 400-1000mg and therapeutic intakes of 1000mg-10,000mg (10g).
Combining supplements Have any ginseng supplements you might also be taking at least three hours before or after taking vitamin C, or foods rich in vitamin C.
Precautions Mega-doses of a gram a day or more may cause loose bowel movements, while those prone to kidney stones are advised against large intakes. Mega-dosing with vitamin C can also alter the results of blood and urine tests and may mask blood in stools that can indicate bowel cancer, so first inform your doctor. People with diabetes must be aware that vitamin C in the urine can lead to inaccurate sugar results.
Why take this supplement?
Smokers, who tend to have poor vitamin C intakes, have increased needs - estimated to be between 40mg a day to an extra 25mg with each cigarette. Infections, exposure to pollution (especially carbon monoxide), stress, people over 55, convalescents, athletes, and routine aspirin users may also benefit from vitamin C supplements. Optimum nutritionists believe that regular vitamin C supplements can not only treat specific problems, but can also help to prevent diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and infections. Signs that you may need a supplement include:
RDA for adults
sources of vitamin C mg/100g of food
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