Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble compound that the body needs to thrive, but cannot generate on its own. This makes it an essential nutrient. The nutrient is available in vitamin C supplements and various foods, including citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli and kale.
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is helpful in neutralizing free radicals that cause damaging oxidative stress, which can affect overall well-being and accelerate the cellular aging process.* This vitamin is popular for supporting the immune system and for its ability to complement vitamin E, another important health-enhancing nutrient and antioxidant.* Vitamin C benefits the body in the creation of collagen, a protein that is crucial to healthy blood vessels and capillaries, connective tissue and skin, as well as hair and nails.
In the 18th century, British naval physician James Lind discovered that consuming vitamin C-rich citrus fruits prevented sailors from developing the detrimental health issues associated with a deficiency in the nutrient, though the specifics of the vitamin weren't yet realized. During the 1930s, Hungarian researcher Albert Szent-Gyorgyi successfully isolated vitamin C and won a 1937 Nobel Prize for his efforts, and supplements of the vitamin soon became available.
Decades later, another Nobel recipient, American scientist Linus Pauling, became a strong advocate for its numerous benefits. In part due to Pauling's ringing endorsement during the latter part of the 20th century, vitamin C supplements have become a popular way to support overall well-being.
Vitamin C Directions for Use
Contact your health care practitioner prior to taking vitamin C supplements or starting any nutritional supplement regimen. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75-90 mg (milligrams), while the Linus Pauling Institute suggests 400 mg per day. Eating fruits and vegetables in five servings daily offers approximately 200 mg of vitamin C.
For immune support, it is commonly recommended to take between 500 mg and 1 g (gram) daily.* The tolerable upper intake limit for vitamin C has been set at 2,000 mg. Because vitamin C is soluble in water, it is eliminated from the body relatively quickly and needs to be replenished more often than fat-soluble vitamins.*