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Vitamin C Requirements and Dietary Sources

Vitamin Guide

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Updated February 04, 2014

Orange Juice

One glass of orange juice will give you a whole day's worth of vitamin C.

Steve Woods

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the cells in your body from free radical damage.

It's also known as ascorbic acid and is a member of the water-soluble family of vitamins. It's required for normal growth and maintenance of most of the tissues of your body.

Vitamin C is well-known as an important component of your immune system; it's also a component of collagen, which is needed for healthy connective tissue. It also helps your bones and teeth stay strong.

Daily Requirements

Males

1 to 3 years: 15 milligrams per day
4 to 8 years: 25 milligrams per day
9 to 13 years: 45 milligrams per day
14 to 18 years: 75 milligrams per day
19+ years: 90 milligrams per day

Females

1 to 3 years: 15 milligrams per day
4 to 8 years: 25 milligrams per day
9 to 13 years: 45 milligrams per day
14 to 18 years: 65 milligrams per day
19+ years: 75 milligrams per day

Vitamin C is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and potatoes. Deficiency can lead to dry hair, gingivitis, slow wound healing, a weakened immune system, anemia and nosebleeds. Scurvy can occur after a long-standing vitamin C deficiency.

Vitamin C supplements have been recommended for relief of colds and flu, and as an alternative treatment for some forms of cancer. However, research hasn't provided sufficient evidence for these recommendations.

Taking large amounts of supplemental vitamin C may result in diarrhea or loose stools. The Institute of Medicine established 1,800 to 2,000 milligrams per day as the upper tolerable intake level.

Sources:

"Vitamin C." Accessed March 17, 2009. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/0024204.htm

Otten JJ, Hellwig JP, Meyers LD. "Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements." Institutes of Medicine, 2006.

 

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