Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin found in large quantities in the body. As this does not know how to synthesize it or store it, it is essential to bring enough of it on a daily basis to stay healthy. Vitamin C, best known for its antioxidant power, has many roles in the body.
Characteristics of vitamin C:
- Called ascorbic acid
- Found in fruits and vegetables
- Helps fight against oxidation and strengthen the immune system
- Acts in synergy with vitamin E, selenium, and zinc
- promotes iron absorption
Vitamin C: Roles and benefits in the body
Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant power. Combined with other antioxidant molecules such as vitamin E, selenium or zinc, it helps neutralize excess free radicals in the body. As a result, ascorbic acid protects against oxidative stress and premature cellular aging. This antioxidant action is also involved in the protection of the body against certain pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, or neurodegenerative pathologies.
Vitamin C allows the production of neurotransmitters in the brain: dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenaline, etc. It is therefore essential for the proper functioning of the brain. In addition, its ability to fight against oxidation could be useful in slowing down the onset of neurodegenerative pathologies (Alzheimer’s for example).
The concentration of vitamin C is particularly important in the cells ensuring the body’s immune defenses. Indeed, it participates in the production and renewal of white blood cells and thus allows the body to defend itself against internal and external pathogens.
20 fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
|Guava||125 ml (1/2 cup)||199 mg|
|Red bell pepper, raw or cooked||125 ml (1/2 cup)||101-166 mg|
|Green pepper, raw or cooked||125 ml (1/2 cup)||54-132 mg|
|Papaya||½ papaya (150 g)||94 mg|
|Kiwi||1 medium fruit (75 g)||71 mg|
|Orange||1 medium fruit||70 mg|
|Orange juice||125 ml (1/2 cup)||43-66 mg|
|Mango||1 medium fruit (200 g)||57 mg|
|Broccoli, raw or cooked||125 ml (1/2 cup)||42-54 mg|
|Brussels sprouts, cooked||4 cabbage (85 g)||52 mg|
|Strawberries||125 ml (1/2 cup)||52 mg|
|Pink or white grapefruit juice||125 ml (1/2 cup)||36-50 mg|
|Cooked kohlrabi||125 ml (1/2 cup)||47 mg|
|Pink or white grapefruit||½ grapefruit||42 mg|
|Vegetable juice||125 ml (1/2 cup)||35 mg|
|Pineapple||125 ml (1/2 cup)||34 mg|
|Cantaloupe||125 ml (1/2 cup)||31 mg|
|Carambola||1 medium fruit (90 g)||31 mg|
|Raw green peas||125 ml (1/2 cup)||31 mg|
|Cooked cauliflower||125 ml (1/2 cup)||29 mg|
How to use vitamin C properly?
Daily requirements for natural vitamin C
|Recommended nutritional intake (ANC)|
|Babies 0-6 months||40 mg *|
|Babies 7-12 months||50 mg *|
|Infants 1-3 years||60 mg|
|Children 4-8 years old||75-90 mg|
|Boys 9-13 years old||100 mg|
|Girls 9-13 years old||100 mg|
|Boys 14-18 years old||110 mg|
|Girls 14-18 years old||110 mg|
|Men 19-70 years||110 mg|
|Women 19-70 years||110 mg|
|Men 70 years and over||110 mg|
|Women 70 and over||120 mg|
|Pregnant women||120 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||130 mg|
In smokers, the need for vitamin C is increased, it should be at least 130 mg per day.
Food supplements based on ascorbic acid
Ascorbic acid is found in many food supplements. most of these supplements contain 1000 mg of vitamin C. They are often recommended for their antioxidant role and to stimulate the immune system. The dosage of 1000 mg must be observed because beyond that there is a risk of overdose. In all cases, seek the advice of a doctor.
Adverse effects of ascorbic acid
Consequences of vitamin C deficiency
True vitamin C deficiency is responsible for scurvy. It is extremely rare nowadays in developed countries but can induce edemas and hemorrhages which can cause death if not treated quickly. Vitamin C deficiency is much more common and can lead to fatigue, general asthenia, a tendency to get sick easily or even loss of appetite.
Consequences of a dose of vitamin C greater than 1000 mg
The maximum recommended intake of vitamin C is 1000 mg in addition to the recommended intake, or 1100 mg in healthy adults. Beyond this dose, vitamin C can promote the formation of kidney stones from oxalates, hemochromatosis, or the occurrence of digestive disorders (diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc.).
Interactions with other nutrients
The presence of foods rich in vitamin C during a meal increases the assimilation of iron contained in this same meal. It is interesting to combine sources of vitamin C and iron.
The crude formula of vitamin C is C6H8O6, its molar mass is 176.1241 g / mol. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is extremely sensitive to heat and light, hence its great fragility in cooking. In the body, it is found in the form of ascorbic acid or sodium or calcium ascorbates. Ascorbic acid is a reducing diacid with high antioxidant potential.
History of the nutrient
The name ascorbic acid comes from the Greek and means “anti-scurvy”, scurvy being a disease linked to vitamin C deficiency and whose symptoms have been known since the 13th century. It was not until the 1700s that scientists realized the ability of lemon to cure disease. In the 1930s, vitamin C was first synthesized by WN Haworth, who received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his essential discovery. Since then, the roles of vitamin C in the body have continued to be the subject of interesting scientific discoveries.