Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin c image Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins are stored in the body in very limited amounts, and are excreted through the urine. Therefore, it is a good idea to have them in your daily diet. Vitamin C is sensitive to light, heat, and air and can be destroyed during food preparation, cooking, or storage.

Functions

Vitamin C's functions include:
  • Acting as an antioxidant in the body
  • Playing a major role in collagen formation
  • Assisting in the synthesis of a neurotransmitter, norepinephrine
  • Helping break down cholesterol and synthesize bile
  • Playing a role in the absorption, metabolism, and utilization of other nutrients, such as folate, calcium, and iron
  • Promoting healing of wounds

Recommended Intake:

Age Group (in years) Recommended Dietary Allowance
(mg/day) [milligrams per day]
Females Males
1-3 15 15
4-8 25 25
9-13 45 45
14-18 65 75
14-18 Pregnancy 80 n/a
14-18 Lactation 115 n/a
19-50 75 90
19-50 Pregnancy 85 n/a
19-50 Lactation 120 n/a
50+ 75 90
Smoking increases oxidative stress and metabolic turnover of vitamin C. Therefore, the RDA for smokers is increased by 35 mg a day. For example, if you are a 22 year-old female smoker, your RDA for vitamin C is 110 mg/day.

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