What is it called?
Vitamin C is also called ascorbic acid or hexuronic acid (C₆H₈O₆).
What does it look like?
It is a white to yellowish solid that easily dissolves in water. (Realistically, it's going to look like a fruit, vegetable or food supplement.)
How much of it do I need?
Ladies need about 75mg (and an extra 10mg during pregnancy), gentlemen about 90mg. Smokers generally need about 35mg on top of that.
What foods contain vitamin C and how much of them do I need to eat per day?
One medium-sized Orange or Kiwi per day will already do the trick. If you're not that much into fruits, about 4 baked potatoes or even 4 raw tomatoes will also get you covered. However, red and green peppers contain even more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
Only 40g (or 1/3 cup) of raw red peppers contain enough vitamin C to prevent the following nasty stuff...
What happens if I don't get enough vitamin C?
Initial deficiency symptoms are fatigue, malaise, and inflammation of the gums. As it gets worse, you will suffer from petechiae and joint pain. The outer layer of your skin will begin to thicken and wounds won't heal very well anymore. This disease is called scurvy. You may know it as a sailor's disease. As scurvy intensifies, your teeth may fall out, your gums will bleed and a lot of other very unpleasant stuff. If you don't get treated, scurvy is fatal. So you better eat your red peppers!
Can an overdose of vitamin C also be harmful?
That is highly unlikely since the tolerable upper intake level is about 2000mg. Our bodies just can't absorb such high quantities of vitamin C. However, constant high intake levels may cause diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps.
Does it have any other effects?
Vitamin C plays a role in cancer prevention and treatment while reducing the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. It also helps with age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Can it really prevent a cold as many parents suggest? In the 70s, this was actually suggested by several scientists, but studies have shown that high levels of vitamin C intake will not make your body less prone to catching a cold.
Thanks for reading, I hope you liked it. I'll be back with more nutrition facts soon and don't forget to eat your red peppers. They save lives.