What Does Vitamin C Do For Your Body?

vitamin cVitamin C is necessary to form collagen that, amongst other functions, helps keep the skin firm and to slow down the visible signs of aging.

The two most widely known benefits of Vitamin C are in

  • the prevention of scurvy, a condition that can lead to death,
  • and in the treatment of colds and influenza.

There is inconclusive research to suggest that it can also have some effect in heart disease, polio and other conditions.

Until the 18th century scurvy was a principal killer of sailors on long voyages when fresh fruit and vegetables could not be stored on board.

When the Royal Navy introduced a regular intake of lime juice into sailors diet the problem was solved. This is why the British are known as limeys.

Vitamin C is found in lemons, limes and other citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli and other green leaf vegetables, green peppers and bean sprouts amongst other plant sources.
In the Indian sub continent limes are considered to have many other curative properties associated with their high vitamin C content.

It is important to note that humans, unlike most other animals, are unable to store vitamin C, and as a consequence a source should be included in the diet on a regular basis.

Do we need Vitamin C Supplements?

As we do not store vitamin c in our bodies a daily intake of a supplement containing the vitamin can be beneficial and unless taken in excessive amounts is unlikely to cause any harm.

There is continuing debate in the medical world concerning the amount of vitamin C that should constitute a recommended daily intake.

  • Guidance from US and Canadian Government agencies recommend 60 – 95 mgs a day with an upper limit of 2000mgs a day whereas the UK Food Standard Agency puts the level at 40 mgs a day.
  • Independent researchers have calculated from up to 400mgs a day to a high of over 6000mgs a day as beneficial doses in certain medical conditions.

There is a growing movement in the medical community advocating larger doses than governmental agency recommendations based on research into the short time the vitamin remains effective in a normally functioning human body.

There are conditions that can be harmed by larger than average doses of vitamin C so if in any doubt seek medical advice. An indication that too large a quantity of the vitamin is being taken is the onset of diarrhea, known as the Bowel Tolerance Limit (BTL). This will cease as soon as the dose is reduced and is harmless.

Those with a serious illness will have a considerably lower BTL than healthy people.

Take the vitamin supplement with or soon after a meal as a large dose on an empty stomach can cause acid indigestion.

Vitamin C is depleted by smoking so give the weed up or take an additional dose of 35mgs a day.

You cannot beat sticking to a regular balanced diet to maintain the optimum levels of vitamins, trace elements and the vital nutrients essential for healthy living.

Despite this there are some for whom their medical practitioner will deem it necessary to supplement their intake of vitamin C so if your skin looks and feels saggy dry and rough, your hair splitting, your gums tending to bleed or you are a heavy smoker you should take medical advice.

Suggested Reading
What Does Vitamin D Do For Your Body?
What Does Vitamin K Do For Your Body?
What Does Vitamin A Do For Your Body?

Category: Vitamins

About the Author ()

Hi ! I’m Jaks and I am the writer for this site. To be completely healthy and fit you must keep your body moving and active and most of all eating the correct food is vital. Learn more about this site

Comments (11)

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  1. I think that vitamian C is a good supplement for the body. It take good care of my body and skin. I drink it in Sunny Delight/Sunny D and other drinks. It is real good!

  2. kyle says:

    I drink a bunch load of orange juice a day. probablly like a bottle of orange juice 500 ml x 5-6 bottles aday on a regular bases, never thought about how good it is for u, i just like it. but is that healthy? lol

  3. ashley says:

    i take vitamin c in vitamin form everyday, helps keep my skin great! i am in college and it helps prevent me from getting sick. its great around the winter season

  4. courtney says:

    I love vitamin c it’s so healthy for you. And i drink orange juice every day at school i am in junior high and i love keeping my body healthy and keeping my skin beautiful. i like orange juice because of the taste but talking care of my body is just a bonus


  5. Ryan says:

    Vitamin C is great for you!
    New studies have shown that you can’t have too much*, that most likely people are not getting enough vitamin C continually throughout the day. This is because we can not store the vitamin C, the excess amount we do not use at the time of indigestion is just flushed out (literally, lol). To help with that take your vitamin C through out the day by a well balanced diet (natural foods rich in vitamin C) and it never hurts to add a supplement at one meal time, like breakfast. Also it helps to drink lots of purified water. Water helps with the absorbtion of all vitamins and minerals, plus it is a natural way of flushing out all the bad toxins in our system. Really we should be drinking at least 32-64+ ounces of water daily, and it is recommended that purified water is the best, in that most tap water** is not harmful for you many can contain harmful elements such as chlorine. lead, etc… (yuck!) A simply water filter prevents this and are becoming more affordable as awareness of the need to have one spreads.

    I have read a lot of people drink lots of orange juice, that is great, but did you know that drinking too much acid type drinks i.e. (orange juice, tea, coffee, etc..) can eat away the enamel on your teeth promoting tooth decay (yikes!) Also a lot of juice drinks really have waaayy too much sugar in them to be healthy for you… too much sugar in any diet is a recipe for disaster.

    The point is to read the labels of the juice drinks and see how much juice and sugar are really in it, just because it says 100% vitamin C does not mean 100% juice. If you stick to the more natural foods and drinks i.e. ( whole fruits and vegetables, 100% juice, purified water, etc…) then that is a great start on getting your vitamins and minerals naturally, plus when you eat healthy foods it just gives you more energy and makes you feel good, so why wouldn’t you want to eat them?

    And if you do drink a ton of orange juice just remember to brush those choppers when your done to help prevent enamel damage, (or at least rinse your mouth with really well with water). Another thing to point out is that vitamin C is essential for us, in that it helps our bodies absorb other vitamin and minerals like Calcium and Iron.

    *(though diarrehea has been caused by taking too much vitamin C in one sitting, because of it’s high acid content, it is not toxic for you. Though if you have pre-existing conditions this could be harmful for you and you should always consult your doctor before changing your diet and taking any “mega” doses of any vitamin or mineral. Some, like Iron overdose, can really be deadly if you don’t know what you are doing.)
    ** (A simple water filter prevents this and are becoming more affordable as awareness of the need to have one spreads.)

  6. vasantha says:

    thats some awesome facts about vitamin c!

  7. Naia casady says:

    I’m wondering what the effects of super doses over time because I’ve been taking 4000 mg at a time one a day and every time I do I instantly feel “high” as in euphoric and energetic as if it were a great stimulant and it makes everything seem better. Anyone got an answer or a reference to some interesting research I can look at?

    • Jaks says:

      Hi Naia,

      Thank you for your interesting question.

      There is an opinion that the upper daily intake of Vitamin C should be limited to 2000mg. although we should point out that such is the diversity of views that one source quotes 60mg as the recommended daily intake. Either way, it is clear that you are exceeding the recommendations by an excessive amount and it would be unwise and irresponsible of us not to advise you to make a drastic cut back on your intake, if for no other reason than it may lead to unexpected and unwelcome consequences.

      However it is also important that you only gradually decrease your intake to a more reasonable level, and not attempt to get back to a normal level overnight, so to speak. If you cut back both dramatically and immediately you stand a chance of “rebound scurvy”, an unpleasant and possibly fatal condition, for reasons that it is not appropriate to explain here.

      The human body does not produce vitamin C, it is absorbed from the food we eat. In normal circumstances excess vitamin C (a.k.a. absorbic acid) is excreted in the urine and is unlikely to be harmful. A significant excess may cause one or more of the following symptoms : Diarrhea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, kidney stones, increased urination, osteoporosis, joint pains and heartburn.

      Your feeling of being euphoric or “high” may be due to the vitamin’s function in neural transmitters and /or a high concentration being stored in the adrenal gland. Although we do not know of any connection, and must be taken solely as our guess, it could be that the constant excess of vitamin C may trigger a release of adrenalin from the gland or stimulate your neural transmitters to give you that “high” rush.

      As with any extreme excess to do with the body, our strong advice is gradually reduce your vitamin C intake to normal levels as you cannot be sure of the long term damage you may be causing yourself. As they say, you should take “everything in moderation”.
      We hope this helps.

  8. tahlia says:

    i love keeping my body healthy.

  9. gilly says:

    I train and I believe vit.c is great for repairing strained muscles as well as other vitamins and also great for colds n flu

  10. judy says:

    I take 2000mg of C each day one in the morning before work and one at night with dinner. It has helped me alot. When in my office was sick or should i say very sick last winter i never got sick.

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