Vitamin C

Introduction

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and has several important functions. For example, it:

  • helps protect cells and keeps them healthy
  • is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue, which gives support and structure for other tissue and organs
  • helps wound healing

A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy.

Good sources of vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include:

  • oranges and orange juice
  • red and green peppers
  • strawberries
  • blackcurrants
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • potatoes

How much vitamin C do I need?

Adults need 40mg of vitamin C a day. Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day. You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet.

What happens if I take too much vitamin C?

Taking large amounts (more than 1,000mg per day) of vitamin C can cause:

  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea
  • flatulence

These symptoms should disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements. You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take vitamin C supplements, do not take too much because this could be harmful. Taking less than 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.

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