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Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic Acid, works by helping to form and maintain collagen. Collagen is a protein that enhances the body's ability to absorb iron. It has many benefits, supports a variety of the body's structures and is essential to the formation of bones and teeth. Humans, unlike most other animals, do not create their own vitamin C, and they need to consume it through foods rich in the vitamin.

How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is sometimes referred to as the daily allowance or daily value, is 60-95 mg per day. The Food Standards Agency of the UK only recommends 40 mg. However, these dosage recommendations are hotly contested among scientists, some of whom who, like Linus Pauling, recommend upward to 18,000 mg per day!

Good Sources of Vitamin C
FoodAmount*
Red Pepper (raw)190
Yellow Pepper (raw)183
Guava100
Kiwi90
Broccoli (raw)89
Brussell Sprouts (raw)85
Papaya60
Strawberry60
Orange50
Lemon40
Cantaloupe40
Cauliflower40
Grapefruit30
Spinach30
Cabbage30
Raspberry30
Tangerine30
*mg of Vitamin C per 100 g

What Happens If You Don't Get Enough Vitamin C?
A deficiency in vitamin C can cause Scurvy, which manifests itself in loose teeth, hemorrhages, bruising, inability to fight off infection, mild anemia, and bleeding. If not treated, Scurvy proves fatal.

What Happens If You Get Too Much Vitamin C?
Most excess vitamin C simply leaves the body with the urine, but continuous excessive doses can lead to bladder and kidney stones. Overdose of the vitamin can destroy B12, reduce the effectiveness of blood-thinners, lead to the loss of calcium, and cause diarrhea and nosebleed.

How Does Vitamin C Help?
In addition to preventing Scurvy, vitamin C has been shown in some strudies to reduce the length of colds and to alleviate their severity. It does not, however, prevent colds or alter their frequency. Vitamin C may help prevent lead poisoning, and some scientists believe it can be used in the treatment of cancer.

Orange Juice

Good Sources of Vitamin C
The best sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits are most famous for their vitamin C content, but vitamin C can also be found in vegetables such as red peppers and cauliflower. To the right is a chart that lists the foods highest in vitamin C and their content. Keep in mind, however, that the actual amount will vary based on climate, growing conditions, time of picking, and other factors. The way the food is cooked is also important. To preserve the vitamin C, refrain from cooking vegetables for too long or at too high a temperature, and retain the water into which the vitamin C seeps. Raw vegetables, when possible, are best.

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