By Khanyisile Msebenzi
The Thursday before the lockdown in response to the COVID19 pandemic began in South Africa, I went to Clicks and Dischem looking to buy multivitamins, vitamin c in particular, and the shelves were empty. I panicked a little because I felt quite vulnerable all of a sudden, everybody new to take vitamins and bought them and now I had none, eek!
I eventually found a Vitamin C rich multivitamin and multimineral, but in all honesty, I don’t even know much about Vitamin C, except that we get it from fruits and veggies like citrus fruits and that it is good for preventing cold and flu. But I have totally forgotten my high school biology to really know why some media stories and medical practitioners were recommending 1000mg of Vitamin C a day…1000mg sounds like a lot to me.
Anyway I did some basic reading on Vitamin C, and perhaps this may help you. A quick search on Google showed that in a number of articles there was doubt that Vitamin C could help fight off flu and cold virus, let alone COVID19…so I had to research into medical journals…
Our bodies can’t produce Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid as it is known, and yet we need Vitamin C for important bodily functions, including metabolism and strengthening our immune system. We have to get Vitamin C from food intake and supplements. The foods with high levels of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, preferably fruits, where it can’t be cooked out with heat. Most multivitamins and multiminerals have Vitamin C.
Here is table of fruits and veggies with high levels of Vitamin C content:
|Food sources of vitamin C|
|Food (serving size)||Vitamin C (mg)|
|Guava (1 medium)||165|
|Strawberries (1 cup)||98|
|Cantaloupe (¼ medium)||95|
|Papaya (1 medium)||95|
|Bell pepper, red, raw (½ cup)||95|
|Orange juice (¾ cup)||60|
|Kale (1 cup, cooked)||53|
|Broccoli (½ cup, cooked)||50|
|Bell pepper, green, raw (½ cup)||45|
|Tomato juice (1 cup)||45|
|Mango (1 medium)||30|
|Lemon juice (½ cup)||30|
Recommended Adult Daily Intake:
The recommended daily intake for Vitamins C is 65 to 90 milligrams a day, with an upper limit of 2,000mg a day. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so any excess is usually excreted in the urine rather than stored in the body. It’s safe in almost any amount from foods, and supplements in recommended amounts are also regarded as safe for most people.
Benefits of Vitamin C:
- Necessary for growth, development and repair of all body tissues
- Helps to protect cells and keeps them healthy
- Needed in the formation of collagen
- Assists in maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones, cartilage, teeth
- Helps with wound healing
- Helps strengthen the immune system
- Helps the body absorb Iron
Lack of vitamin C can lead to:
- Bleeding gums
Studies have shown that dietary rather than supplemental sources of vitamin C are more effective in keeping blood pressure in check.
What happens if I take too much vitamin C?
Taking large amounts more than 1,000mg per day, say 2,000 or 3,000mg a day of vitamin C can cause:
- stomach pain
People with chronic liver or kidney conditions, gout, or a history of calcium-oxalate kidney stones should take no more than 1,000 mg a day.
These symptoms should disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements.
Does Vitamin C Assist In Fighting Off Cold & Flu?
Yes it does! “Vitamin C helps the immune system work well in order to protect the body from diseases,” Dr. Ross tells Bustle. A study in Nutrients in 2017 found that vitamin C is essential to many aspects of our immune system, including killing off microbes and producing B- and T-cells, which are both key parts of our immune response. People with vitamin C deficiency, the study noted, tend to have impaired immunity and are more susceptible to infection, and supplementing with vitamin C can help prevent respiratory infections — like the flu. The more effective our immune systems are, the better they’re able to fight off the flu virus.
Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C.
Vitamin C in megadoses administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group.
I am taking between 1000 and 2000mg of Vitamin C in trying to ensure that if I happen to catch a cold, flu or COVID19, I experience mild symptoms. And as a disclaimer, I am not likening or inferring that COVID19 is a flu.