We don’t store the vitamin C in the body for long. Vikings in days of yore would carry bushels of raw onions to eat on long sea voyages to keep away scurvy, but hundreds of years later British sailors had a better idea, eating raw limes while aboard ship. That’s why Brit sailors are called “limeys,” something we’ve all heard in grade school and a million times since.
Scurvy is a condition in which one’s gums bleed, teeth loosen, tiny blood vessels break, and in more severe cases, bodily weakness and other serious symptoms occur. A deficiency of vitamin C is the cause.
Vitamin C helps maintain blood vessels and tissues. It is vital for good healing of wounds, and if you’re on a starvation diet, you’ll readily notice how slowly you heal with poor C intake. It’s an antioxidant, meaning it prevents cell damage.
*– C is the one vitamin the body cannot produce on its own. We must ingest it in our foods each day.
*– The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, melon; and vegetables like potatoes, onions, leafy greens and bell peppers.
*– Vitamin C is about the most fragile of the vitamins; it’s destroyed by high heat, prolonged exposure to oxygen, too long storage, and some food processing. Fresh food and especially fruits are the best sources. However, vitamin supplement tablets are excellent for ensuring you’re getting enough. Bottles of supplemental tablets should be kept closed and according to package directions, away from heat and light. Tablets should be used up before the expiration date.
*– Smoking reduces vitamin C in the body, so smokers need almost twice as much every day as the rest of us.
*– If you’re under stress, or have endured a long illness or trauma, or have undergone surgery, you’ll need more than you usually would.
Even though vitamin C is an acid, it’s extremely beneficial for people with stomach ulcers. Those with ulcers desperately need as much ability to heal as possible. The lining of the stomach and intestine thrive on vitamin C. In fact, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a supplement of 500- 1000 mgs. vitamin C, one to three times daily, as a part of an ulcer treatment.
Recommended Daily Allowance (U.S.)
Remember, this is a general guide. Your individual need may vary somewhat. Some people need more due to a health condition, or may need more because their systems don’t seem to absorb it as well.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of 45 mg. for healthy adults.
Adult Men: 60 mg.
Adult Women: 60 mg.
Pregnant or Nursing Women: 75-95 mg.
Adolescents: 40-60 mg.
Young Children to 3 yrs: 40 mg.
Infants: 35 mg.
Megadoses of Vitamin C and their benefit (or lack of it) have been hotly debated for decades. Since it has low toxicity — in other words, your body can handle many times more than the RDA listed above — people have tried to use large doses of it to cure illnesses, to prevent the common cold, to improve general health and longevity, and experiments continue with vitamin C as an assist with colon cancer treatment.
Linus Pauling’s 1986 books (How To Live Longer And Feel Better, & Vitamin C And The Common Cold) touted megadosing with vitamin C as a general rule. A groundswell began for the lowly ascorbic acid, that hasn’t stopped in the years since. Although there have been some adverse results in people following a regiment of C, such as increased incidence of cataracts in older women, and increased renal (kidney) stones in others, the attention to the vitamin has led to numerous health benefits for many.