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Vitamin C

Vitamin C

 

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in your body, and for a healthy immune system. As your body cannot make or store vitamin C it is important to include plenty of vitamin C containing foods in your diet every day.

 

 

Sources
All fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C.

 

Fruits that are particularly good sources of vitamin C include:

  • citrus fruit such as oranges and grapefruit,
  • kiwi fruit,
  • strawberries,
  • watermelon,
  • papaya,
  • pineapple, and
  • melon.

 

Vegetables that are particularly good sources of vitamin C include:

  • broccoli,
  • Brussel sprouts,
  • red capsicum,
  • celery,
  • tomato,
  • leafy greens such as spinach, and
  • potato.

 

The best food sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables as vitamin C can be lost in cooking or with prolonged storage. Microwaving or steaming vitamin C rich foods minimises cooking losses in comparison to other cooking methods such as boiling or roasting.

 

 

Requirements
The amount of vitamin C you need depends on your age and gender. You may need more if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or smoke. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) below reflects how much most people need each day.

 

  RDI (mg/day)                                                                                                    
Infants  
0-6 months 25
7-12 months 30
Children  
1-8 years 35
9-13 years 40
Adolescents (14-18 years) 40
Adults (19+ years) 45

 

It is easy to meet the RDI by incorporating the recommended 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables in your diet each day.

 

 

Deficiency
Vitamin C deficiency is very rare in Australia.

 

You may experience the following symptoms if you are not getting enough vitamin C:

  • poor wound healing,
  • swollen bleeding gums and loosened teeth,
  • swollen painful joints,
  • frequent infections,
  • easy bruising, and/or
  • fatigue.

 

Extreme deficiency can lead to scurvy, a disease with symptoms that include feeling generally unwell and bleeding gums.

 

 

Safety
As the body cannot store this vitamin, it is rare to experience serious side effects from too much vitamin C. However, high doses of more than 2,000mg/day are not recommended as they can cause stomach upset and diarrhoea.

 

 

Disclaimer
The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.

 

Sources

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopaedia

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm

 

National Health and Medical Research Council

http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-c

 

Stewart R., Griffith Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics (2nd edition)

 

 

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