Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble nutrient. Ascorbic acid is crucial for immune responses against infections. It has important anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, antioxidant, antithrombotic, and antiviral properties. It also has an essential role in tissue repair.
Given the effect of Vitamin C on the common cold - reduced duration and severity, Vitamin C administration intravenously may reduce the conversion in patients from mild infection to the critical phase of COVID-19.
It downregulates the cytokine storm characteristic of the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) that occurs in the later cycle of the COVID-19 disease. It also protects the endothelium (a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels) from oxidant injury.
Several Vitamin C studies are underway across the world to confirm its role in mitigating COVID-19 and to better understand its therapeutic potential. It has been recommended that people in high-risk groups for COVID-19 mortality should be encouraged to take Vitamin C supplementation daily.
So how do we get our daily dose of Vitamin C?
Humans depend on Vitamin C from the nutritional supply in fruits and vegetables as our bodies don't produce it. Even before Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi discovered Vitamin C in 1932, nutrition experts recognised that something in citrus fruits could prevent scurvy, a disease that killed as many as two million sailors between 1500 and 1800.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for adults 19 years and older is 90 mg daily for men and 75 mg for women. Smoking can deplete Vitamin C levels in the body, so an additional 35 mg beyond the RDA is suggested for smokers. For pregnant and lactating mothers, RDA increases to 85 mg and 120 mg respectively. The Upper Limit is 2000 mg daily; taking beyond this amount may promote gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.
If you’re already getting Vitamin C from food, taking supplements may or may not be beneficial because any excess of the vitamin is excreted from the body in the urine.
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Luckily, there are lots of different foods to choose from that are rich in Vitamin C. Some of the fruits and vegetables with the highest sources of Vitamin C include:
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruit
Red and Green Bell peppers (Capsicum)
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries
Remember to eat your fruits and veggies raw whenever possible. When you cook them, some of their vital nutrients are lost. Foods at peak ripeness eaten raw contain the most Vitamin C. Keep a bowl of Vitamin C rich fruits handy as a snacking option.
Did You Know?
Green and red bell peppers contain more Vitamin C than an orange.
Being a water-soluble nutrient, it is best absorbed when you take them empty stomach. If you are taking Vitamin C supplements, the best time to take it is first thing in the morning, 30-45 minutes before your meal.
Vitamin C plays a significant role in boosting sleep. Studies have shown that individuals with greater concentrations of the vitamin, have better sleep than those with reduced concentrations.
The Kakadu plum is an Australian native superfood containing 100 times more Vitamin C than oranges! Kakadu plums contain up to 5,300 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, making it the richest known source of this vitamin.
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