Amazing Facts About Vitamin C

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Vitamin C Knowledge
Vitamin C Knowledge. Graphic © Food images – Wikipedia lic. under CC (see foot of article for full info)

Vitamin C – General and Scientific Information

Vitamin C, or technically L-ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble vitamin known to exhibit antioxidant properties. [1] Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt, a Hungarian physiologist, was the first to isolate vitamin C in 1927 and is credited thus as its discoverer, an accomplishment for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1937. [2] The functions of vitamin C are so vast, unique, specific, and vital to human survival,that numerous studies have been conducted to illuminate fully its physiologic activities, biological significance, therapeutic use and optimum dosage. [1]

Aside from being an effective antioxidant, vitamin C also plays a role in the synthesis of collagen, which serves as the main component of connective tissue; norepinephrine, which functions as both a neurotransmitter and a hormone; [5] and carnitine, a vital “energy transfer tool” that acquires fatty acid chains from the cell cytosol and transfers these to the mitochondria for energy production. [6] Several research findings support the impression that an increased vitamin C intake reduces one’s chances of having chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cataract, probably through antioxidant mechanisms. [7] A meta-analysis of cohort studies, for instance, suggested an inverse association between dietary intake of vitamins C and E and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). [8] The results from the study of Osganian et al. (2003) revealed that the use of vitamin C supplements appears to significantly lower the risk for CHD (relative risk = 0.72; 95% confidence interval, 0.61 to 0.86). [9]

Perhaps the most well-known clinical consequence of vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, a rarely seen (in modern times) condition initially characterized by malaise, fatigue, and lethargy and, at 1 or 3 months of inadequate vitamin C intake, anemia, myalgia, bone pain, easy bruising, perifollicular hemorrhages, gum disease, and mood changes, to name a few. To correct scurvy that results from vitamin C deficiency, 1-2 g vitamin C is supplemented on a daily basis for the first 2 to 3 days, followed by 500 mg per day for the next week. [10]

As elucidated in detail earlier, it cannot be overly emphasized that the physiological and biochemical actions of vitamin C in the body are indispensable. Unfortunately, humans bear the same predicament as that of simians and tarsiers, guinea pigs, and few bird species: we are incapable of vitamin C biosynthesis! We deviate from the majority of animals and plants that can synthesize their own vitamin C through a sequence of enzyme-driven steps. [1] The problem is that vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient constantly eliminated by the body through our urine and that the body doesn’t store it also compounds. Because of this, one’s daily vitamin C requirement must be furnished by an ongoing balanced diet. [11] The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends a vitamin C daily intake of 90 mg for men and and 75 mg for women more than 18 years of age, although a few point out that the recommended daily intake for vitamin C should be raised, especially for smokers. [12] Carr and Frei (1999) had reported that a daily intake of 90-100 mg of vitamin C optimally decreases the risk of having chronic disease among nonsmoking men and women. [7] The most famous advocate of high vitamin C use was Dr. Linus Pauling, who took 3 grams of vitamin C every day for many years and lived to be 93.

30 Common Foods Rich in Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25, offers a brief list of food sources with significant amounts of vitamin C (sorted by nutrient content, with vitamin C content expressed in milligrams) – foods that everyone should definitely consider incorporating in one’s diet for healthy living. Note that organic foods have recently been demonstrated to be higher in anthocyanins and other nutrients.

1. One 6 fl oz can of orange juice (frozen concentrate, unsweetened, undiluted) – 293.7 mg; 1 cup of orange juice (raw) – 124.0 mg

2. One 6 fl oz can of white grapefruit juice (frozen concentrate, unsweetened, undiluted) – 248.0 mg; 1 cup of white or pink grapefruit juice (raw) – 93.9 mg

3. 1 cup of peaches (frozen, sliced, sweetened) – 235.5 mg

4. 1 cup of sweet red peppers (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 232.6 mg; 1 cup of sweet red peppers (raw) – 190.3 mg

5. One 304 g raw papaya – 185.1 mg

6. 1 cup of sweet green peppers (raw) – 119.8 mg

7. 1 cup of strawberries (frozen, sweetened, sliced) – 105.6 mg; 1 cup of raw strawberries – 97.6 mg

8. 1 cup of broccoli (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 101.2 mg; 1 cup of raw broccoli – 78.5 mg

9. 1 cup of Brussels sprouts (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 96.7 mg

10. 1 cup of raw oranges (all commercial varieties) – 95.8 mg

11. 1 cup of kohlrabi or German turnip (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 89.1 mg

12. 8 fl oz grape drink (canned) – 78.5 mg

13. 1 cup of edible-podded peas (boiled, drained, without salt) – 76.6 mg

14. One 207 g raw mango – 75.3 mg

15. 1 cup of raw pineapple (all varieties) – 74.1 mg

16. 8 fl oz fruit punch drink, with added nutrients (canned) – 73.4 mg

17. 1 medium-sized raw green kiwifruit – 70.5 mg

18. 1 cup of sweet potato (canned, vacuum pack) – 67.3 mg

19. 1 cup of lemon juice (canned or bottled) – 60.5 mg

20. 3/4 cup of ready-to-eat cereals (wheat flakes or whole grain) – 60 mg

21. 1 cup of raw cantaloupe melons – 58.7 mg

22. 1 cup of tomato products (canned, paste, without salt added) – 57.4 mg

23. 1 cup of cauliflower (frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 56.3 mg; 1 cup of raw cauliflower – 48.2 mg

24. 1 cup of cabbage (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 56.3 mg

25. 1 cup of kale (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 53.3 mg

26. 1 cup of collards (frozen, chopped, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 44.9 mg

27. 1 cup of (pak choi) Chinese cabbage (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 44.2 mg

28. 1 cup of asparagus (frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 43.9 mg

29. 1 cup of raspberries (frozen, red, sweetened) – 41.3 mg; 1 cup of raw raspberries – 32.2 mg

30. 1 cup of turnip greens (cooked, boiled, drained, without salt) – 39.5 mg [13]


[1] Vitamin C. Wikipedia.

[2] Albert Szent-Gyˆrgyi. Wikipedia.

[3] Padayatty S. J. et al. (2003). Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 22(1): 18-35.

[4] Schwedhelm E., Maas R., Troost R., & Bˆger R. H. (2003). Clinical pharmacokinetics of antioxidants
and their impact on systemic oxidative stress. Clinical Pharmacokinetics, 42(5): 437-459.

[5] Higdon J. (2006). Vitamin C. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

[6] Carnitine. Wikipedia.

[7] Carr A. C. & Frei B. (1999). Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C based on
antioxidant and health effects in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(6): 1086-

[8] Ye Z. & Song H. (2008). Antioxidant vitamins intake and the risk of coronary heart disease: metaanalysis of cohort studies. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation,
15(1): 26-34. doi: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e3282f11f95.

[9] Osganian S. K. et al. (2003). Vitamin C and risk of coronary heart disease in women. Journal of the
American College of Cardiology
, 42(2): 246-252.

[10] LÈger D. (2008). Scurvy: Reemergence of nutritional deficiencies. Canadian Family Physician,
54(10): 1403-1406.

[11] Vitamin C. MedlinePlus.

[12] Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), dosing. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

[13] Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid (mg) content of selected foods per common measure. USDA National
Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25.

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