An estimation of one’s appropriate vitamin C intake will vary from person to person. There are specific guidelines for children and adults, with certain considerations for groups such as pregnant women. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, performs several necessary functions in the body. Some examples of its benefits include aiding tissue development, fighting infections and illnesses such as the common cold, and promoting healthy bones and teeth. In addition, sufficient daily dosages might help prevent some chronic diseases. One should note that it cannot be made or stored in the body, so daily vitamin C intake is necessary in order to gain the most health benefits. It can be found in several foods, as well as in nutritional supplements.
According to most health professionals, the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 90 milligrams (mg) for adult males and 75 mg for females. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have higher recommended dosages. Studies have shown that, in general, smokers need more of the nutrient due to a lack in their bloodstream. Therefore, their recommended vitamin C intake is higher than for non-smokers.
The recommended vitamin C dosage for children usually varies, depending on the child’s age. The suggested daily intake for infants is 40 to 50 mg. Older children’s recommendations start at 15 mg at age one, leading up to 45 mg at age 13. Adolescents between 14 and 18 years old have a suggested intake of approximately 65 to 75 mg.
The main food sources of vitamin C are generally fruits and vegetables. Some examples of those with the highest amounts are oranges, grapefruits, and their respective juices. A few additional sources with beneficial amounts of vitamin C are berries, tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli. Many nutritionists also recommend tropical fruits and melons, cauliflower, squash, and potatoes.
If someone is showing signs of a deficiency, it may be necessary to increase his or her vitamin C intake. Some symptoms of this can include a susceptibility to infection or illness, a tendency to bruise easily, and joint problems. An extreme deficiency could lead to a disease known as scurvy. This condition is usually unlikely to occur in the general population, however, since only a small amount of vitamin C is needed to prevent it.
On the other hand, it might be necessary for someone to decrease vitamin C intake if he or she normally takes more than 2,000 mg daily. While vitamin poisoning is uncommon, ingesting such high concentrations can cause physical ailments such as stomach discomfort. Anyone concerned about either vitamin toxicity or potential deficiencies should consult a health professional for advice.