Vitamin C – the immunity vitamin steps in when your body is sick – but you must not overdo the supplements. Here’s how to know if you are overboard already.
Vitamin C played a huge role in the great voyages of discovery, reports the National Geographic – while also attributing deaths of sailors to the lack of Vitamin C – far exceeding the death count of the American Civil War.
It says that when seafarers such as Magellan and Cook conquered the world’s oceans, brought immense wealth and knowledge to Europe, more sailors died of scurvy — nearly thrice the number of soldiers that were killed in the American Civil War. Today we know that this terrible ailment — which had physical and mental repercussions — was caused by chronic vitamin C deficiency, brought on by lack of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began and spread from Wuhan in China since late 2019, the world has been eulogising the immunity-boosting attributes of Vitamin C. Earlier, we would hear of many people taking Vitamin C supplements in the winter months to fortify themselves against catching a seasonal cold.
According to the UK health body NHS, Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) has several important functions.
Functions of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):
- helping to protect cells and keeping them healthy
- maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
- helping with wound healing
- helps your body absorb iron
The body’s requirement of Vitamin C:
- As per NHS, adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day.
- It recommends that one must get all the vitamin C one needs from the daily diet.
- However, since Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, therefore you need to add a little Vitamin C to your daily diet.
Can you overdo the Vitamin C intake?
7 signs of excess Vitamin C intake:
Taking too many supplements might lead to vomiting and insomnia. According to the NHS(UK) and the Mayo Clinic (US), taking large amounts (more than 1,000mg per day) of vitamin C can cause:
- stomach pain/abdominal cramps
- nausea and vomiting
These symptoms should disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements.
Food sources of Vitamin C:
- Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes,
- Strawberries: Add this as toppings on yoghurt or ice-cream cups or make smoothies and juices
- Papaya with its enzyme called Papain that aids digestion
- Kiwi – as they are also rich in potassium, flavonoids and copper
- Guava is rich in other essential nutrients like dietary fibre, folic acid, potassium and manganese
- Amla – that Ayurvedic experts swear by
- Tomatoes for their potassium, folate, and vitamin K content.
Apart from fruits, leafy green vegetables like spinach, other veggies like broccoli and bell peppers.
For most people, an orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper, or broccoli provides enough vitamin C for the day, according to the Mayo Clinic.