You hear about getting enough vitamin C more often than most other vitamins. But it tends to be for when you’ve got a cold, the flu, or sniffles — what about all other times? Is staying on top of vitamin C necessary then, too?
All of us need a certain amount of vitamin C to be healthy. If you take a little extra, it can have some extra health benefits, too!
What is vitamin C? | What does vitamin C do for your health?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. This means you can take a lot of it and never overdose, so you don’t have to worry about taking too much (for the most part).
Since your body can’t produce its own vitamin C you must get it from food! It’s required for healthy tissues, strong immunity, and for healing wounds to form scar tissue. Blood vessels also require vitamin C to function well and be healthy, too.
How much vitamin C do you need?
Thankfully, you don’t need lots of vitamin C to stay on top of being healthy: experts recommend somewhere between 65 and 90 milligrams a day for the average adult.
For specific health benefits or to boost your immunity (such as when you’re sick with a cold), you can take more per day, up to 2000 milligrams. However, it’s best to take this in 100 mg doses spread throughout the day. Your body will absorb it better (it stops absorbing vitamin C at around the 1000 mg mark!)
What are signs of vitamin C deficiency?
If you’re eating plenty of vitamin C-rich foods (or you’re staying on top of your supplements), you need not worry about deficiency. Not getting enough vitamin C isn’t common— but it still can happen.
Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include:
- Easy bruising
- Slow healing wounds
- More infections and sickness (colds and flu)
- Dry or damaged skin and fingernails
- Painful and swollen joints and bones
- Other nutrient deficiencies
- Tooth loss
- Bleeding gums
- Chronic fatigue
- Scurvy (severe vitamin C deficiency)
What are the best sources of vitamin C?
For most of us who are relatively healthy, the best way to get enough vitamin C is from diet. You’re probably already familiar with some of the most vitamin C-rich foods:
- Citrus fruits
- Dark leafy greens
- Sweet peppers
- Dark blue or red berries
This definitely isn’t an exhaustive list! If you have a hard time getting enough of these, supplement sources can help. Some of the best of these include:
- Acerola cherry
- Calcium ascorbate
- Ascorbic acid
By far the most common type of vitamin C supplement you’ll find contains ascorbic acid. But be careful! Taking too much of this synthetic vitamin can cause uncomfortable side effects in some people.
Cover your vitamin C needs with a much healthier combination of whole food sources and natural supplements. Your body more easily absorbs what is natural versus what is synthetic— whether food or supplement, always go natural!