Your Guide To Vitamin C Why We Need It + Food Sources

Vitamin C Nutrition Guide: Best Food Sources, Absorption, Deficiency, Types + Supplements


Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is an essential vitamin found in fruit and vegetables. It has several important functions including cell protection, supporting wound healing and collagen production which maintains healthy skin, bones, blood vessels and cartilage.


In this blog post, you will learn:

👉🏼 What is vitamin C + what role does it play in the body?

👉🏼 What are the best food sources of vitamin C?

👉🏼 How much vitamin C should you consume each day?

👉🏼 What can help improve vitamin C absorption – and what decreases absorption?

👉🏼 Who is at risk of vitamin C deficiency?

👉🏼 When should you consider vitamin C supplementation?

👉🏼 What are the different types of vitamin C supplements – and which one is right for you?

Are you worried about nutritional deficiencies? Are you looking to optimise your diet and transform your health? Head to Consultations to see how I can help you start your journey to the healthiest version of yourself today!

What is vitamin C?

You need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It also plays a role in controlling infections and is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralise harmful substances called ‘free radicals’ that can damage cells in the body.


What are the best food sources of vitamin C?

Fruit and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits, tomatoes and potatoes are rich in vitamin C and other good sources include red & green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, cruciferous vegetables such as  broccoli and brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe. 


How much vitamin C should we consume a day?

The UK recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 40mg (for adults) which most people should be able to get from their diet. 


How can we maximise vitamin C absorption?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning the body cannot store it so it needs to be an essential dietary component. Absorption does not differ if obtaining vitamin C through food sources or supplements. Generally, in healthy adults, once the body’s tissue becomes saturated with vitamin C, absorption decreases and any excess amount is excreted in urine. Vitamin C can be destroyed by heat and light. High-heat cooking temperatures or prolonged cook times can break down the vitamin during the cooking process. 


Who is at risk of vitamin C deficiency?

Vitamin C deficiency is thought to be rare but has been seen in individuals with a limited diet, providing less than 10 mg daily for one month or longer. Groups at potential risk of deficiency include eating a diet restricted in fruits and vegetables, smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, and drug and alcohol abuse.


Should you consider a vitamin C supplement?

Most people should be able to get enough vitamin C through their diet. However, many people take vitamin C supplements at unnecessarily high doses, known as ‘mega dosing’, with the aim of preventing or treat various conditions such as colds and flu, despite effectiveness being unproven. Taking large amounts of vitamin C, unnecessarily, can lead to unwanted digestive symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhoea and gas.


What should you look for in a vitamin C supplement?

Vitamin C supplements should typically come in the form of ascorbic acid, which has equivalent bioavailability to that of naturally occurring ascorbic acid in foods. However, vitamin C is involved with numerous metabolic reactions in the body and supplements can also interact with certain medications, so it is important to always seek medical advice before taking a supplement. 


Everyone’s nutritional requirements will be different, which is why I take a personalised approach with all of my 1:1 clients and tailor each nutrition plan (and supplement recommendation) to their unique needs and goals.


This is just a small insight into the types of things I discuss with my 1:1 clients. If you’re looking to optimise your nutrition, transform your health and elevate your quality of life, please get in contact via Consultations or book a FREE 15-minute call and let’s chat about how I can help. 


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Check out my other nutrition-related blog posts below: