By Dr. Erika Toebaas
Vitamin C is an amazing water soluble nutrient found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.
It is one of the 12 essential vitamins the body needs to function. This means that the body doesn’t produce it and it must get it from our diets. Vitamin C is known as L-ascorbic acid. It is required for the biosynthesis of collagen (an essential component of connective tissue, which plays a vital role in wound healing), L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters. It aids the body in protein metabolism, absorption of nonheme-iron (the type of iron found in plant based foods), & it helps in the synthesis of hormones. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant that has been shown to help regenerate other antioxidants in the body. Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and down regulating inflammation in the body. It also degrades cholesterol, increases our ability to metabolize drugs and detoxify and, at the right dosage, has antihistamine effects.
Research shows that consuming Vitamin C towards its upward limits of 2000mg per day reduces histamine levels within the blood. It does this with the help of bioflavonoids, a strong antioxidant often found in many of the same foods that contain vitamin C. Bioflavonoids play a role in strengthening the walls of our capillaries. This is important because when mast cells or basophils (cells that contain histamines) are releasing their histamine related compounds into the bloodstream, the histamines will find it more difficult to leach out into tissues to induce an “allergic” response. Quercetin is a major bioflavonoid found in citrus fruits with strong anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties, making it a major player. Vitamin C also increases epinephrine (adrenaline), a potent antidote for allergic reactions. I’ve mentioned before that citrus fruits are high in histamines, so if you are someone that has a problem detoxing histamines you will want to consider other sources for your vitamin C consumption.
Looking to double your amount of vitamin C consumption, consider including the white mesh-like fleshy part on the inside of the rind and the pith of a medium-sized orange. This fleshy portion is approximately 50 to 70 mg of vitamin C.
Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue or lassitude, widespread connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility
Good sources include:
citrus fruit, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and limes
peppers (red & green bell)
Recommended Daily Amount
According to Harvard medical school, the adult recommended daily dosage of vitamin C is 65 to 90 mg. Doses will vary for men, women. For pregnant or breastfeeding women, the recommended amount is 120 mg per day. For adults, the tolerable upper intake level (UL) — the highest daily intake likely to pose no risks — is 2,000 mg per day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements might cause:
*always consult a healthcare provider if you are planning to take supplements