Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant for tissue growth and repair. Also known as an ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps form collagen, absorb iron, promote healing and maintain bone, teeth, and cartilage health. When the body lacks vitamin C, your immune system weakens, your skin dries, and you’ll experience fatigue, joint pain, and swollen gums. To avoid this and ensure optimal vitamin C intake, you should know just how much of the antioxidant your body needs and how to get it.
The nonprofit National Academy of Medicine released a report published on Healthine.com recommending daily dietary allowances for every age group. Infants ranging from 0 to 12 months old should intake 40 to 50 milligrams (mg), while children anywhere from 1 to 8 years old should ingest 15 to 25 mg. Between the ages of 9 and 13, pre-teens should consume 45 mg. Once teens hit 14 years old, the recommended allowance is different for males and females. A man’s intake ranges from 75 to 90 mg, while a woman’s is slightly less at 65 to 75 mg. For pregnant women, the suggested amount is 80 to 85 mg, while those lactating should consume 115 to 120 mg. Smokers need an extra 35 mg more than nonsmokers.
So, how do you get enough for your body?
Your parents may have once told you to drink orange juice to boost your vitamin C, and they were right. That’s one way to increase your intake of the ascorbic acid.
There are four additional methods to ensure your body has enough vitamin C, which include:
Eating Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is water soluble, so it can’t be stored nor is it produced in the body. You have to get it in your daily diets, eating nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables to ensure your body gets the amounts it needs.
Health and wellness site Healthline released a list of 20 foods high in vitamin C, which includes Acerola cherries (822 mg), chili peppers (65 mg), kale (53 to 80 mg), and brussel sprouts (49 mg). Of course, oranges made the list, with 70 mg of vitamin C.
Because vitamin levels diminish after the food is harvested, it’s important to eat your produce as fresh as possible. If you’re picking up some out of season, you’ll want to opt for the frozen version because nutrients are stored. Cooking presents other implications. To preserve vitamin C, you’ll want to steam the food with limited water. Boiling temperatures and excess water drain the vegetables of their vitamins, so significantly less is absorbed by your body. To get the most out of your food, it’s best to eat it in season, organic, and uncooked.
In addition to a healthy diet, you can add in some supplements to increase your intake.
Taking Vitamin C Supplements
Supplements shouldn’t be taken in place of a good diet, but used to enhance that regimen. Vitamin C can be found in many multivitamins or in their own over-the-counter supplements.
Many also use vitamin C supplements to combat the common cold. Although these haven’t been proven to cure a cold or stop it from coming on, studies have shown people who take supplements have shorter and milder colds.
Smoking depletes the body’s vitamins, which act as defense mechanisms against free radicals—unstable molecules that cause diseases and aging. Without protection, free radicals are able to multiply at an accelerated rate and damage the body.
Although some believe they can cancel out these consequences and improve smoke-related damage of the blood vessels by injecting vitamin C, studies have proven this is untrue. Those who smoke cigarettes must ensure they intake the extra 35 mg of vitamin C to avoid deficiency.
Using Vitamin Drip Therapy
A nutritious diet and daily regimen of vitamin supplements works toward a long-term health goal and aren’t necessarily tactics to implement at the time of illness. Although vitamin drips, which involve nutrient infusions, can be used to maintain wellness, they are also helpful in expediting the recovery process and preventing illnesses.
Anyone can take advantage of the immediate benefits, which include a boost in energy and strengthening of the immune system. Vitamin C drips can be used to treat colds, allergic conditions, flu, and hepatitis.
The Integrative Healing Center, a member of the Northport Wellness Center Alliance, practices integrative medicine and offers IV vitamin drips. This nutritional therapy can boost vitality, improve heart health, reduce migraine symptoms, help to prevent asthma attacks, and strengthen the immune system.