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The Importance of Vitamin C for Human Health

1. Introduction

The human body relies on several food components to remain healthy. Vitamins play a significant role in keeping the body at its proper state. Out of the many vitamins, Vitamin C is one of them, and it is water-soluble. It means that the body does not store it and excretes any surplus through urine. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 75-90 mg/day for women and 90-120 mg/day for men (Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, 2001).

2. What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables (Figueiredo et al., 2016). It is an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body (NINDS, 2014). It is also involved in many body processes, such as wound healing, immune system function, and collagen production (NINDS, 2014).

3. The Importance of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. It helps the body to make collagen, which is a protein that is found in tendons, ligaments, and skin (NINDS, 2014). Vitamin C also helps to heal wounds and to repair and maintain bones and teeth (NINDS, 2014). In addition, vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron from food and to maintain a healthy immune system (NINDS, 2014; Figueiredo et al., 2016).

4. Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin C

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75-90 mg/day for women and 90-120 mg/day for men (Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, 2001). The RDA is the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy people (Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, 2001).

5. Deficiency and Toxicity of Vitamin C

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, which is a condition that causes fatigue, gum disease, bleeding gums, and bruising (NINDS, 2014). Scurvy can be prevented by consuming foods that are high in vitamin C or by taking supplements (NINDS, 2014). Vitamin C toxicity is very rare and usually only occurs when large doses of vitamin C are taken orally or intravenously (NINDS, 2014). When taken in large doses orally, vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, headaches, and dizziness (NINDS, 2014).

6. Pregnant and Lactating Women

Pregnant women need more vitamin C than non-pregnant women because it helps to form collagen in their developing baby’s bones and teeth (Figueiredo et al., 2016; Institute of Medicine & National Research Council Committee on Nutritional Status during Pregnancy & Lactation, 1990). The RDA for pregnant women is 80-85 mg/day (Institute of Medicine & National Research Council Committee on Nutritional Status during Pregnancy & Lactation, 1990). Lactating women need more vitamin C than non-lactating women because it is secreted into their breast milk (Figueiredo et al., 2016; Institute of Medicine & National Research Council Committee on Nutritional Status during Pregnancy & Lactation, 1990). The RDA for lactating women is 115-120 mg/day (Institute of Medicine & National Research Council Committee on Nutritional Status during Pregnancy & Lactation, 1990).

7. Elderly

As people age, their bodies become less efficient at absorbing and using vitamin C from food (Figueiredo et al., 2016). In addition, the elderly are more likely to have chronic diseases that increase the need for vitamin C (Figueiredo et al., 2016). For these reasons, the RDA for vitamin C is higher for the elderly than for younger adults. The RDA for men and women over the age of 70 is 120 mg/day (Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, 2001).

8. Conclusion

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin C is 75-90 mg/day for women and 90-120 mg/day for men. Pregnant and lactating women need more vitamin C than non-pregnant and non-lactating women. The RDA for pregnant women is 80-85 mg/day and the RDA for lactating women is 115-120 mg/day. Elderly people need more vitamin C than younger adults because their bodies are less efficient at absorbing and using it from food. The RDA for men and women over the age of 70 is 120 mg/day.

FAQ

The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 75-90 mg per day for adults.

Vitamin C contributes to human health by helping to form collagen, aiding in the absorption of iron, and boosting the immune system.

Some food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables.

The signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, and bleeding gums.

Taking too much vitamin C can be harmful because it can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps. High doses of vitamin C can also cause kidney stones.

People take supplements containing high doses of vitamin C because they believe that it will help prevent or treat colds and other infections

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