Can I take a vitamin C supplement every day?

Find out if you can take a vitamin C supplement every day or not.

Have we become a pill-popping society that requires a quick fix for our health issues? Many will agree it certainly appears that way. One only needs to look at the many different dietary supplements on the market to realize that there is great demand. But why are dietary supplements so popular today when they weren’t just a few decades ago? Equally important is the question can you take a vitamin C supplement every day. In this article, we answer these questions by first discovering what vitamin C is and how exactly it functions in the body.

What is vitamin C and why do we need it daily?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient which means that it cannot be stored in our bodies. If a certain threshold level has been reached in the body, it excretes the rest of the vitamin C it does not need via the kidneys and urine. Our bodies do not produce their own vitamin C and we, therefore, need to get our daily recommended dose preferably from fresh fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamin C your body needs, however, if it lacks or you need an immunity boost, reinforcement can come in the form of a vitamin C supplement taken every day.

For a good dose of vitamin c goodness, aim for 2 and a half cups of fresh fruits and veggies daily

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition observed the declining nutrient content of 43 vegetables and fruits over the past half-century. The Organic Consumers Association also tracks many other studies that indicate the same thing. The typical American diet of processed foods, refined grains, and sugar overload, does not help either. That said, research suggests and it still makes sense to aim to get most of your nutrients from food. Therefore it would serve one well to rather buy organic produce.

Our modern lifestyles and poor diets almost necessitate taking vitamin C supplementation every day if we are not getting enough of it from our food. Smokers especially need a higher than average daily intake of vitamin C to counter the negative effects of smoking. A study found that vitamin C supplementation of 1000mg a day radically reduces vitamin E depletion by 45% in a smoker. According to the National Institutes of Health, smokers need 35 mg more vitamin C than non-smokers.

The everyday benefits of vitamin C

A quick glance at the general benefits of vitamin C and you realize why it is such a key nutrient for optimum health. A great immunity booster with antioxidant properties. It not only lowers blood pressure, but aids with iron absorption reduce heart disease and protect memory. Taking a good vitamin C supplement every day can be very beneficial, especially if you are deficient or need an immunity boost.

  • Anti-aging

Vitamin C builds super important and youth-enhancing collagen in the body which is crucial to keeping skin firm and supple and bones strong.

  • Energy

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the production of L-carnitine, an energy-giving amino acid.

  • Stress Resilience

Vitamin C produces feel-good dopamine and adrenaline in the nervous system and keeps the adrenal glands in good shape.

  • Immunity

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, helps fight inflammation, and provides protection from the common cold. In higher dosages, it may prevent or treat other more serious health conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related macular issues.

  • Healthy Heart

Vitamin C provides cardiovascular protection through its antioxidant properties and its ability to tackle plaque.

How much vitamin C should I take every day?

There are different recommendations set by different health institutions. All of them give a basic guideline of the RDA for vitamin C.

The below table is set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that tells you how much vitamin C you can take every day from either supplementation or food or a combination of both.

AgeMale FemalePregnancyLactation
0-6 months40mg40mg
7-12 months50mg50mg
1-3 years15mg15mg
4-8 years25mg25mg
9-13 years45mg45mg
14-18 years75mg65mg80mg115mg
19+ years90mg75mg85mg120mg
Smokers need 35mg more vitamin C than nonsmokers.

The Linus Pauling Institute recommends a daily intake of 400 mg/day of vitamin C for generally healthy adults.

Can I take a high dosage vitamin C supplement every day?

There is no one size fits all. Everyone’s health needs are unique. It is recommended to do a simple blood test to find out if you are deficient in vitamin C. Taking a high dosage vitamin C supplement every day, may result in much of it being excreted via the kidneys and urine. This would be a total waste of money. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies recommends 2000 mg/day for adults as an upper-level dosage, from a combination of both food and vitamin C supplements.

Possible Side effects of taking a higher dosage of vitamin C supplement daily?

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Other gastrointestinal issues
  • Kidney stones
  • Cause the body to take up too much iron
  • People with low levels of the enzyme G-6-PD could be at risk of haemolytic anaemia
  • Vitamin C can interact with other meds
  • Avoid vitamin C if you are allergic to corn

Considerations when it comes to taking vitamin C every day

One should usually strive to get all your daily vitamin C needs from a healthy, balanced diet full of citrus fruit and fresh veggies. The Linus Pauling Institute says that if you eat at least 2 and a half cups of fresh fruits and veggies daily, you should be fulfilling your daily requirement with ease. Taking a vitamin C supplement every day should be based on your short-term and long-term health needs. Consulting a nutritionist and or health practitioner can help establish what your own requirements are and then supplementing with vitamin C accordingly.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy these too:

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Vitamin C supplements versus fruit.

Cautionary note: Not any of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The content of the articles and the products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health issue. The intention is also not to imply that vitamins or any dietary supplements are substitutes for a balanced diet or are in any way more beneficial or superior to dietary nutrients. It is also not intended to imply that general or normal health may be affected by not taking dietary supplements or receiving intravenous vitamin C infusions.

Image by Anna Shvets

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