What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is one of the most studied and well-known micronutrients. It is often referenced directly in recipes and cooking through many different fruits and vegetables that have high Vitamin C content. Famed Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling was an outspoken advocate for megadoses of Vitamin C and popularized its ability to fight colds, cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
Why does it matter?
- Vitamin C is essential in making enzymes function and is particularly important for the proper formation of collagen fibers. Collagen formation is important for the maintenance of healthy tissue structures. In scurvy, vitamin C deficiency leads to improper collagen formation.
- Some studies have suggested Vitamin C can help with the severity of cold infections, although it doesn’t help prevent infection in the first place.
- Vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning it is readily filtered out by the kidneys, helping prevent toxicity even at high doses. However, doses of vitamin C above 2g/day is not recommended and may lead to nausea and diarrhea,
Where can I find Vitamin C?
Despite being associated with oranges (53mg/100g), vitamin C is found in higher concentrations in fruits like Guava (228mg/100g) and Kiwis (93mg/100g).
Vitamin C is also found in higher concentrations in vegetables like Bell Peppers (128mg/100g), Kale (93mg/100g), and broccoli (93mg/100g). Herbs like thyme (160mg/100g) and dill (85mg/100g) can also have high quantities of vitamin C but are usually relatively small sources to flavour and enhance dishes, rather than eating them alone.
Daily recommended intakes:
Daily recommended doses vary depending on the advising body, but here are some recommendations across the world:
To Wrap It Up
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in helping form healthy tissue structure and helps fight infections once they occur. If you’re traveling back in time to the 1600’s and traveling across the world on a boat, don’t forget to bring some oranges (or if you're space-poor, lots of dried dill).
Most mammals can make vitamin C except for primates (including humans), guinea pigs, and fruit bats. Better start growing so you can get your daily dose!