Vitamin C

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Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate, is a water-soluble anti-oxidant.  One of its main functions in our bodies is to protect our cells from oxygen-based damage.

Healthy adults need about 75 to 90 mg per day; pregnant and lactating women need more; children need less.  Pediatric doses range from 15 mg to 75 mg depending on age and gender.

Vitamin C is only available from plant-sourced foods and is found in most fruits and vegetables.  Papayas, bell peppers, strawberries and broccoli are excellent sources.  As long as you regularly include fruits and vegetables in your meals, you should be getting all the Vitamin C you need.

People who may have a greater than average need for Vitamin C include those with:

  • alcoholism
  • depression
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • diabetes

The most common adverse reactions to supplemental Vitamin C are gastrointestinal: nausea; heartburn and diarrhea.

Because of its anti-oxidant activity, Vitamin C reacts with many supplements, herbs and medications.  In particular, those taking the following drugs should be cautious about taking supplemental Vitamin C:

  • aspirin
  • chemotherapy
  • estrogen
  • statins
  • protease inhibitors

If you are on any of these medications, or if you take other supplements, please check with your MD, ND or pharmacist before taking supplemental Vitamin C.

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