Vitamin C Requirement

Vitamin C Requirement: Overview

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin.  Water-soluble vitamins are carried throughout the body in the bloodstream.  They are, for the most part, not stored in the body.  The body uses what it needs and the rest is passed in the urine.

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Vitamin C is important to many body functions.  It helps the body build and maintain collagen; heal wounds and bruises; keep the immune system healthy; maintain healthy bones, teeth, gums, red blood cells, and blood vessels; repair bone fractures.  Vitamin C may also reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases by acting as an antioxidantAntioxidants help the body fight the effects of free radicals, which can damage the body's cells.

Causes and Development

Pregnancy, breastfeeding, gastrointestinal diseases, and hyperthyroidism increase the need for vitamin CInflammatory diseases, burns, and surgery can also increase a person's need for vitamin C.  Vitamin C deficiency is often caused by a diet that does not include enough fruits and vegetables, excess alcohol intake, smoking or stress.

It is unclear from studies whether physical activity increases a person's requirement for vitamin C.  There is no substantial evidence that mental or emotional stress increases the need for vitamin C for healthy people.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of vitamin C deficiency include: inflamed gums, reduced resistance to colds and infections, skin problems, slow wound healing, stomach disorders.

Severe deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy.  However, severe deficiency and scurvy are rare in developed nations.  Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C.  It causes open sores in the mouth, loose teeth, and soft gums.  In the 1700s, it was discovered that sailors who often drank lime juice did not get scurvy.  Sailors who did not drink lime juice had a 50% chance of dying from scurvy.  It was not until 200 years later that vitamin C was found to prevent scurvy.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Vitamin C Requirement:

Symptoms - Head - Mouth/Oral

Gums that bleed/gums that bleed very easily

Bleeding gums are sometimes due to scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), but this is a rare condition nowadays.

Symptoms - Nails

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions

Occasional/regular/frequent rashes

Scurvy has rash as one of its symptoms.

Conditions that suggest Vitamin C Requirement:

Circulation

Musculo-Skeletal

Muscle Pains (Myalgia)

To test the effects of vitamin C in preventing muscle soreness, researchers at Western States Chiropractic College gave 3gm of vitamin C to students beginning 3 days before exposing them to the stress of exercise.  The vitamin C group developed significantly less muscle soreness than did the control group.  [Pain 1992;50: pp.317-21]

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Risk factors for Vitamin C Requirement:

Supplements and Medications

Counter-indicators
Counter-indicators

Symptoms - Food - Beverages

(High) coffee consumption

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Vitamin C Requirement suggests the following may be present:

Nutrients

Recommendations for Vitamin C Requirement:

Diet

Caffeine/Coffee Avoidance

Research has shown that drinking coffee causes a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Vitamins

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