Vitamins and minerals - Vitamin C 

  • Overview

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and has several important functions.

For example, it:

  • helps protect cells and keeps them healthy
  • is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue, which gives support and structure for other tissue and organs
  • helps wound healing  

A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy.

Good sources of vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include:

  • oranges and orange juice
  • red and green peppers
  • strawberries
  • blackcurrants
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • potatoes

How much vitamin C do I need?

Adults need 40mg of vitamin C a day.

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

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

What happens if I take too much vitamin C?

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

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

What does the Department of Health advise?

You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take vitamin C supplements, do not take too much because this could be harmful.

Taking less than 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.

Page last reviewed: 26/11/2012

Next review due: 26/11/2014


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Jayarava said on 09 November 2014

A recent very large meta-analysis of research

Hemilä, Harri & Chalker, Elizabeth. 'Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold.' The Cochrane Library. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4

Shows a average 7% reduction in the duration of cold symptoms when taking Vitamin C supplements @ ~ 1000mg daily. Add the placebo effect and that's certainly worth it.

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