Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Humans depend on the daily intake of vitamin C from food. If the vitamin is missing over a longer period of time, the deficiency disease scurvy develops. This maritime disease has long been extinct with us, because through our food, the basic supply is covered. In certain times or situations, however, it is advisable to increase its vitamin C intake.

What are vitamins?

Vitamins are essential substances that the body can not produce or only in insufficient quantity itself. They must therefore be supplied to the body through food from the outside. By wrong or one-sided diet, however, the vitamin supply is not secured in large parts of the population. Many people have an increased need for vitamins - without knowing it!

While plants and most animals produce vitamin C in the body's own synthesis, humans, chimpanzees, guinea pigs, some birds and fish lack the messenger substance required for the formation of vitamin C.

What effect does vitamin C have?

  • Protection against free radicals - this makes a contribution to improved cell protection
  • Stimulation of the immune system - this reduces the risk of infection
  • Vitamin C is an important factor in the formation of collagen and in steroid synthesis
  • The iron absorption from the food is improved
  • Vitamin C contributes to better detoxification with increased heavy metal or environmental pollution

How much vitamin C should it be every day?

A vitamin C-rich diet gives the body about 50 to 100 milligrams a day. However, preparation and storage destroy vitamin C. For example, cooked fruit and vegetables usually contain only half the amount of raw food available. The outside temperature also influences the vitamin C content considerably.

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a daily dose of 110 milligrams for men and 95 milligrams for women.

However, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends, as a guideline for an additional intake of vitamin C, such as dietary supplements, not to exceed a maximum of 250 milligrams per day.

Who has an increased need for vitamin C?

  • Pregnant women - the need for pregnancy and breastfeeding is about one and a half times higher.
  • Some smokers have up to 40 percent increased need for the vitamin.
  • In patients with gastric and small bowel ulcers, the intake of the vitamin may be impaired, as the transportation and utilization of the food is hindered by the ulcer.
  • Various medicines may also increase vitamin C consumption, such as contraceptives, antibiotics or analgesics.
  • People who are exposed to increased work or personal stress
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who want to protect themselves from a cold
  • Diabetics also have an increased need of up to 30 percent
  • People who eat one-sidedly or with foods that are not freshly prepared
  • Competitive athletes and older persons
  • If you belong to one of these groups, you may want to take a vitamin C supplement in addition to your diet.

Valuable sources of vitamin C in the diet

Vitamin C occurs in all plants. Particularly high concentrations can be found in the following foods:

  • Peppers, potatoes, flowers and red cabbage, spinach, savoy cabbage, lamb's lettuce and tomatoes, broccoli. Parsley, sauerkraut
  • Rosehip, sea buckthorn and black currants
  • Citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries and apples
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