SUPPLEMENT OF THE WEEK
Vitamin C, also called ASCORBIC ACID or ASCORBATE, is a water-soluble vitamin meaning that it can dissolve in water and taken to the tissues of the body but cannot be stored or naturally produced by the body. It is therefore an essential dietary component.
SOURCES: Vitamin C can be obtained daily from sources such as DIET (Natural Sources) and SUPPLEMENTS (Artificial Sources).
DIET: Eating a balanced diet can provide the body with enough vitamin C. Vitamin C can be obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits rich in vitamin C include guava, blackcurrant, citrus fruits, strawberries, bananas, kiwi and pawpaw. Vegetables like potatoes, peas, broccoli, bell peppers, thyme, parsley and other dark green leafy vegetables, chili peppers and cabbage are all rich in vitamin C. Vegetables and fruits must be eaten raw or lightly cooked to get the highest amount of vitamin C from them. Vitamin C can be destroyed or reduced by prolonged cooking and storage. When vegetables or fruits are boiled, little amount of water should be used as the vitamin dissolves in water. This water can be used rather than thrown away.
SUPPLEMENTS: Vitamin C can also be obtained from supplements. These may be in the form of chewable tablets, gummies, powders, liquids and injections, which are essential if the diet cannot supply enough of what is required daily. Such supplements include QC VITAMIN C.
FUNCTIONS OF VITAMIN C: The functions of vitamin C are numerous and are useful for many body processes. They include:
- Acting as an antioxidant.
- Enhancing the healing of wounds.
- Acting as a co-factor for many enzymes.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Helping improve heart health.
- Enhancing the body’s absorption of iron.
- Helping in the formation of collagen, a protein found in connective tissues in blood vessels, skin, tendons, bones, the gut, cartilage and hair.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE: The recommended daily allowance differ due to age, lifestyle and other factors and it goes as follows:
- Kids (1-3 years) 15mg.
- Kids (4-8years) 25 mg.
- Adolescents (9-13years) 45mg.
- Teens (14-18 years) 65-75mg.
- Adult women ( aged 19 and older) 75mg.
- Adult men ( aged 19 and older) 90mg.
- Pregnant women (14-18 years) 115mg.
- Pregnant women (aged 19 and older) 85mg.
- Lactating women (aged 19 and older) 120mg.
NOTE: Smokers should take an additional 35mg daily as smoking depletes the body of vitamin C.
DEFICIENCY DISEASE OF VITAMIN C: The main deficiency disease of vitamin C is SCURVY which comes with lots of health issues. Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency do not develop until about 4-6 months of reduced or absence of dietary vitamin C intake, by which time plasma and tissue concentrations have seriously decreased.
SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY: Swollen gums, bleeding gums, receding gum, dental caries, iron deficiency anaemia, delayed or poor healing of wounds (wounds show superficial healing for a prolonged time in scurvy and can easily be reopened), skin rashes, neuropathy, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, lack of physical fitness, corkscrew or coiled hair, capillary fragility, joint pain, hypotension, decrease in immunity and depression are all symptoms of vitamin C deficiency. Very serious deficiency of the vitamin can lead to sudden death.
PEOPLE AT RISK OF VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY: People who do not consume balanced meals, especially meals very low or lacking in fruits and vegetables, chronic alcoholics, smokers, drug addicts, individuals who have chronic illnesses, people who have undergone major surgeries and those who have part of their stomach removed are included in those at risk of vitamin C deficiency.
TREATMENT OF VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY: Daily consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and taking vitamin C supplements can raise the body’s vitamin C to a healthy level. Dosage for supplementation is dependent upon age and health status.
TOXICITY OF VITAMIN C: Toxicity of vitamin C is unlikely to happen because the vitamin is water soluble and any excess can be excreted through urine. However, very high intake of ascorbate can lead to acidification of the urine, which may form kidney stones. Excessive intake may cause excessive absorption of iron. High doses of the vitamin can also lead to nausea, intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.
Mrs. Christiana Mere,
InnovaRx Global Health.