So I bet you all are wondering “Fettuccine, why are you writing about this? Why Vitamin C? Why don’t you write about more exciting stuff like diseases, French bulldogs or on-fire pandas?”
Well, imaginary conversation… I uh…
If you haven’t read the first part, here it is!
In this post, I’m going to go ahead and explain how this wonderful little vitamin works in our bodies.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble essential vitamin that requires regular intake to avoid deficiency. Also known as L-Ascorbic acid, it is necessary for the creation of collagen, promotion of healthy capillaries, certain neurotransmitters, as well as a plethora of other roles in our body. The most well known is its antioxidant properties.
Also, if you were wondering what antioxidants were…
I’ll tell you!
Not right now, though. Feeling lazy.
Antioxidants are substances that can either be naturally occurring or man-made, that can help prevent damage to our cells.
I’ll go ahead and go into more detail on antioxidants in a future article, cause there is a lot to cover and I think it deserves its very own super-special post.
The recommended daily (RDA) intake of vitamin C depends on age, whether you are male/female pregnant/lactating. There is a nifty reference table on this page, but it ranges from 40 mg a day to 120 mg a day. The Tolerable Upper Intake level –which is the amount you can safely consume without chance of toxicity– is 400 mg to 2,000 mg depending on age.
There’s a table on this as well, towards the bottom of this page. The adverse side effects are pretty mild. With the worst being some not too pleasant diarrhea and some gastrointestinal discomfort (Bloaty gassiness). Some other fun symptoms are nausea, abdominal discomfort, and a fiery hatred for puppies. Fortunately, you won’t die or anything, but do you really want to hate puppies? I wouldn’t.
Those who smoke actually have a higher RDA and require about 35 mg above their RDA to compensate. So, let’s say you are a 19-year-old male, who has been smoking a pack a day for the past twenty years, it would be a good idea to make sure you are getting at least 125 mg of vitamin C a day. Since the RDA for 19+ men is 90 mg, you would tack on another 35 mg.
To give an example of what this would be equivalent to in terms of food, it would the equivalent of one cup of raw orange juice according to this nice pdf that appears to contain the vitamin C content for all food ever.
Something I feel that most people are not aware of is that we do store a certain amount of vitamin C within our bodies. We have a pool of vitamin C, that ranges anywhere from 300 mg (which is near scurvy levels) to about 2 grams. This pool will slowly deplete if you are taking in less than 10 mg a day for over a month, leading to the beginnings of scurvy.
One raw apple with skin provides about 5.8 mg of vitamin C. Eat at least two to get above 10 mg of vitamin c, but make it three for good measure. You know what they say, three a day keeps the scurvy at bay.
It would definitely be a good idea to get more though. At least the RDA.
So, uh, fun fact: I had the random thought of typing Apple of Death into google. It turns out there is such a thing! There is a tree that is local to the Caribbeans, Florida, northern-south America and a few other places called Manchineel, or as the Spanish call it, Manzanilla de la Muerte. Which translates to the Little Apple of Death. Wonderful, right? Literally, everything about this tree is toxic. The sap, the leaves, and most definitely the fruit pretending to be apples.
That’s all I’m going to cover for this exciting post! If you need me, send me some love on my contact form, an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below! Don’t forget to subscribe!