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Vitamin C is also commonly known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate. It is a vitamin found in various foods and even sold as a dietary supplement. Lets discuss about the vitamin c benefits, sources, deficiency and treatment.

Fun facts of vitamin C

  • 70% of Vitamin C and its benefits is lost in the process of cooking.
  • Humans cannot synthesize our own vitamin C. So consumption of vitamin C is necessary for human survival. 

Vitamin C benefits in out diet

Vitamin C has important functions like:

  • It helps in wound healing as vitamin C is required to make connective tissue which binds the body cells together.
  • Vitamin C helps in absorption of iron in the small intestines during digestion.
  • It helps in building strong bones and teeth
  • Vitamin C is required for the production of blood and the walls of blood vessels
  • It is also required for the building and maintenance of the skin and lining of the digestive system.
  • It helps vitamin E in role as antioxidants to prevent cell ageing
  • Helps absorb calcium and iron from food

What are the main sources of vitamin C ?

Vitmin C is found in many variety of fruit and vegetables like

  • Amla (indian Gooseberry- 700 mg/100 g)
  • Citrus fruit like orange (1 large orange = 82 mg)
  • Yellow bell Peppers (1 medium size= 341 mg)
  • Strawberries (1 cup = 85 mg)
  • Kiwi (1 cup = 64 mg)
  • Mango (1 cup = 22mg)
  • Blackcurrants (100 g of fresh currants = 300% of daily recommended value of vitamin c
  • Broccoli (1 cup = 132 mg)
  • Papaya (1 small = 96 mg)
  • Brussels sprouts (1 cup = 74 mg)
  • Guava , lime,
  • Lemon ( 100 gm = 31 mg)

Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.

Vitamin C daily requirements

Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day.

You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet.

In adults, primary vitamin C deficiency is usually due to inadequate diet.

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency may develop after weeks to months of vitamin C depletion i..e below 10 mg/day. Lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy

Vitamin C deficiency symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • loosening or loss of teeth
  • Weight loss
  • Petechiae
  • Ecchymoses
  • Purpura
  • Poor wound healing
  • Bulbar conjunctival hemorrhage.
  • Hyperkeratosis
  • Corkscrew hairs i.e coiled hair
  • Depression
  • Bleeding into joints, causing severe joint pains.
  • Iron deficiency anemia can also occur due to increased bleeding and decreased non-heme iron absorption secondary to low vitamin C intake.
Vitamin C deficiency Signs & Symptoms
Vitamin C deficiency Signs & Symptoms

Vitamin C deficiency in child

  • Irritability
  • Pain during movement
  • Anorexia
  • Slowed growth.

In infants and children, bone growth is impaired, and bleeding and anemia may occur. Vitamin C deficiency can cause pain and tenderness in knees and legs. This is due to subperiosteal hemorrhage, which can cause “ Pseudo-paralysis”. Specially in children. If Left untreated, scurvy is fatal

Vitamin C deficiency in Child
Vitamin C deficiency in Child

Vitamin C deficiency treatment

It cannot be made by the human body and so it is important to have diet rich in vitamin C.

If Left untreated, scurvy is fatal so it is important to treat it.

Treatment for Scurvy in adults include:

Ascorbic acid 100 to 500 mg orally 3 times a day for 1-2 weeks or until signs disappear. This has to be followed by diet rich in vitamin C to main daily recommended intake.

What is the prognosis of Vitamin C deficiency??

Once the treatment is started, symptoms start to improve quickly within days or weeks. However, chronic gingivitis with extensive subcutaneous hemorrhage may persists longer.

How to prevent Vitamin C deficiency?

Women should take Vitamin C 75 mg orally once a day

Men should take 90 mg orally once a day to prevent vitamin C deficiency.

Smokers should consume an additional 35 mg/day. Five servings of most fruits and vegetables (recommended daily) provide > 200 mg of vitamin C.

What will happen if you take too much vitamin C?

Taking large amounts (more than 1,000mg per day) of vitamin C can cause:

Stomach pain,



These symptoms will disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements.


Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and our body does not produce it. Source of vitamin C is primarily from our daily food intake. Deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy which needs to be treated with nutritious diet and vitamin C supplements.

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