| Food & Diet

Should You Take Vitamin C Everyday?

By Jayton Miller

Should You Take Vitamin C Everyday?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally found in certain foods. Unlike other mammals, this antioxidant cannot be naturally produced or synthesized by humans because of a mutation in the GULO (gulonolactone oxidase) gene, therefore it needs to be added to our diets through foods and dietary supplements. Although it has many uses and benefits, Vitamin C is known best for treating the common cold.


Other Names For Vitamin C:

Other Names For Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also known as L-ascorbic acid, and more commonly referred to as ascorbic acid. However, it's important to understand that ascorbic acid is an isolated part of vitamin C; it's not the entire vitamin. If purchasing vitamin C as a dietary supplement, do your research to figure out if it is the synthetic version of ascorbic acid made in a laboratory, which is mostly derived from genetically modified (GMO) corn and rice starch, and doesn't offer the full spectrum of the nutrients and enzymes of vitamin C in its natural form. Read the label and choose products that offer vitamin C made from real foods, or you can just drink copious amounts of orange juice like I do. 

Health Benefits Of Vitamin C:

Benefits Of Vitamin C


Vitamin C has been found to have four main health benefits in the prevention and treatment of the following conditions:

  • Common Cold: Studies have found that vitamin C may shorten the duration of the common cold and reduce symptom severity. 
  • Cancer: Research suggests that higher consumption of foods that contain vitamin C can reduce oxidative damage to cells, which may lead to cancer. Specifically, vitamin C seems to adversely affect lung, breast, colon or rectum, stomach, oral cavity, larynx or pharynx, and esophagus cancer.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Foods rich in vitamin C and dietary supplements have been shown to lower the chances of coronary heart disease risk and prevent stroke.
  • Cataracts and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Vitamin C may prevent or slow the development of these conditions, which are the primary causes of loss of vision in older adults.

Vitamin C is vital to the production of bones, teeth, skin, cartilage, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons. It facilitates the healing process of wounds and fights free radicals that can lead to aging.

Although studies offer mixed results on the effectiveness of vitamin C, it may be due to the fact that different doses were administered in each particular study. Commonly, vitamin C is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Gum Disease
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Disease
  • Bronchitis
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Dysentery
  • Bladder Infections
  • Acne and Skin Conditions
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Stress and Fatigue
  • Schizophrenia

Read More: The Science Of Stress & How To Manage It

Daily Recommended Allowance Of Vitamin C:

Recommended Daily Allowance


The National Institutes of Health (NHI) offers the following guide for the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C:






0–6 months

40 mg*

40 mg*


7–12 months

50 mg*

50 mg*


1–3 years

15 mg

15 mg


4–8 years

25 mg

25 mg


9–13 years

45 mg

45 mg


14–18 years

75 mg

65 mg

80 mg

115 mg

19+ years

90 mg

75 mg

85 mg

120 mg


Individuals who smoke require 35 mg/day more vitamin C than nonsmokers.

* Adequate Vitamin C Intake (AI)

Generally, vitamin C is safe to take for everyone in the recommended amounts. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, headache, heartburn and stomach cramps. It may be unsafe to take doses higher than 2,000 mg per day, which may lead to diarrhea and kidney stones.

How To Use Vitamin C:

How To Use Vitamin C


There are a multitude of ways to use vitamin C for health benefits. You can add vitamin C-rich foods to your diet, purchase dietary supplements with a whole-food-based vitamin C spectrum (via capsules, tablets or powder), or utilize vitamin C serums and creams for the skin. Some even add vitamin C powder to bath water to remove harmful chemicals and toxins.

Because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, only a certain portion of its nutrients get absorbed into the bloodstream, with the rest being excreted through the urine. A source reported that an average of 200 mg of vitamin C was the maximum absorbed.

To help the body increase the bioavailability of vitamin C, it's recommended to take smaller doses orally. In the book, Nutrition Almanac, writer John D. Kirschmann writes that 80 percent of the vitamin is absorbed for doses under 250 mg, and 50 percent is absorbed for doses over that amount.

Taking vitamin C together with bioflavonoids helps with absorption; some dietary supplements already include this nutrient.

Read More: The War On Micronutrients | The Battle You Never Knew You Were Fighting

Vitamin C Deficiencies:

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency is not common in the U.S. because most people eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Only 7 percent of Americans do not get the required amounts of vitamin C. If deficiency is a concern, a doctor can perform lab work to determine vitamin C levels.

Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency Include:

  • Keratosis Pilaris: bumpy, "chicken skin"
  • Bent or corkscrew hair growth
  • Perifollicular Hemorrhage: red spots around hair follicles on the skin
  • Easily bruised skin
  • Wounds that take longer than usual to heal
  • Swollen Joints
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Poor Immunity
  • Albuminuria: increased protein in the urine
  • Tyrosinemia: a genetic disorder in infants
  • Atrial Fibrillation: regular heartbeat
  • Helps with iron absorption

Risk Factors for Vitamin C Deficiency:

Below are risk factors that can lead to a Vitamin C deficiency:

  • Poor diet
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Intestinal problems that prohibit the absorption of vitamins
  • Medications that prohibits the absorption of vitamins
  • Chronic illness, such as cancer and kidney disease
  • Severe Mental Illness
  • Dialysis
  • Eating Disorders

Foods That Contain Vitamin C:

Vitamin C Foods


There are many fruits and vegetables that contain natural forms of vitamin C, which include:

  • Citrus fruits and fresh juices, such as orange and grapefruit
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and Cranberries
  • Watermelon
  • Winter squash

Heating or cooking fruits or vegetables can lead to the depletion of vitamin C, so when cooking them steaming is usually the best option.


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It's important to discuss any changes in your health routine with your doctor. Prior to adding supplements or increasing vitamin doses, it can be beneficial to perform lab work to assess current levels and discuss the best options with a professional.