My favorite. Vitamin C is a vitamin no human can do without. We need to ingest a good amount daily in our diet. It is, I'll venture, the most commonly known and purchased vitamin out there. It is certainly the most prescribed in my clinical practice, for the infamous immune system bolstering, and it's secret super power.
It's biochemical name is ascorbic acid. C6H806 if you really want to sound smart. As a water soluble anti-oxidant, it counteracts all toxins (free radicals). It is needed to build collagen, carnitine, proteins, and bones. You need lots then if you have an injury, if you are a child still growing, or if you are aging and want to slow that down with fresh healthy collagen. Absorption of Iron and Calcium don't happen without it either. We also need it to make some of our neurotransmitters, which keep our moods balanced. Think of anyone in your life who could use a bit?
Vitamin C is most famous for its ability to stimulate white blood cell immune system activity. It is bactericidal, and antiviral. If you are fighting off any sort of infection, you need tons of it. Hence the drink orange juice when you're sick thing. Sometimes that is enough, but not for the bounce back to health I like. Did you know the sugar in the orange juice needs vitamin C to be metabolized? The sweeter the orange juice, the more vitamin C your body will need to deal with the sugar, so less is available to boost your immunity. Fun experiments with fruit flies confirm that high fructose intake fudges immune function. Translation: less sweets, more vitamin C when you are ill.
So... is the orange juice gonna do it? Fresh squeezed orange juice contains 82.5-125mg's per cup. Fresh. Squeezed. RDA is 60mgs daily which only keeps the scurvy in the bay. Scientists have found that 250mg's is needed to saturate plasma and white blood cell concentrations. In the fridge half of that fresh C is gone after 2 weeks in orange juice, depending on pH and sugars. The C is degraded by the fructose. Yup. The fructose in your fruit degrades the vitamin C. Good news is malic and citric acid keep Vitamin C stable. Most commercial orange juice products add this to keep the flavor and color there too. Vitamin C is also degraded by oxygen in the air, so the uncut vegetables will maintain more vitamin C than the sliced cucumber left out for 3 hours. You can tell by the taste.
So what do you eat?? Think less sweet, more tart equals more C power. That tangy mango. That crisp tart apple. Kiwi! Fresh fruit and vegetables. Of course fresh fruit and vegetables. When is the answer to what should I eat not fresh fruit and vegetables?! Sweet peppers provide a good dose, and yes the citrus fruits, but the biggest bang? Artichoke hearts. Fresh steamed artichoke hearts dipped in melted organic butter. We will survive. How delish. I give fresh artichoke hearts dipped in organic butter 5 stars.
Okay but back to the mg count. As you can see, when I am trying to correct an imbalance, I want bigger punches than food gives. Yes fresh food will keep you from getting sick, but if you have cancer, I will up your dose to as high as 25,000mg's a day for a short time, or as high as your bowels can tolerate. Hey, I may recommend it I.V. to get it even higher. Because ascorbic acid has been shown to kill or slow growth of many tumor cell lines. That's a good thing. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes patients need lots too. Adults get 1,000mg's daily as a base start. 2,000mg's twice a day is a whack ton for a couple weeks for the average sniffles. Kids start at 250mg's a day.
Caution: Take none at all if you have any kidney problems whatsoever, unless you are being followed closely by a naturopathic doctor. Doses higher than dietary amounts need normal kidney function. And please no experimenting with whack tons unless you promise not to blame me! Too much with functioning eliminatory pathways means you get loose stools. Diarrhea. Cut back.
Oh and the the secret super power: Vitamin C is an antihistamine.
An Overview Of Ascorbic Acid Biochemistry
Ascorbic Acid Determination in Commercial Fruit Juice Samples by Cyclic Voltammetry
A high-sugar diet affects cellular and humoral immune responses in Drosophila