Vitamin C

Katie Chambers

06 August 2015

Why do we need Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is important for the synthesis of collagen. This protein is the main component of connective tissue in mammals. Vitamin C has therefore been found to maintain health of connective tissue, providing support to joints. Additionally, it helps to speed recovery from wounds.

It is also vital for a range of metabolic reactions, which helps the body glean energy from the food that we eat. This means that the immune defences are strengthened against infections, and your cells are healthy and working well.

The immune defences are also improved with absorption of iron, something which Vitamin C has also been found to help with. The iron helps to transport oxygen around the body, keeping cells healthy and fighting fit.

Natural sources of Vitamin C

It should be possible to get all the vitamin C you need from your diet, unless you are on a ship with limited resources for several months at a time, in which case you may need to plan a bit more carefully. Very little vitamin C can be stored in the body, so it needs to be consumed each day.

Typically, adults require 40-100mg of vitamin C each day, though up to 1000mg a day is unlikely to cause any problems. Certain foods have been found to be particularly good sources of vitamin C, such as vegetables and citrus fruit.

Food source Vitamin C content (milligrams, mg)
Medium red pepper 342
Kale, 100g 120
1 kiwi 64
Broccoli, 100g 89.2
Strawberries, 100g 58.8
1 orange 69.7
Tomato, 100g 22.8
Mange Tout, 100g 60

Vitamin C deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency is no longer a common problem in the UK, with most people having an intake of above 100mg each day. However, as the body cannot store much vitamin C, if it is entirely removed from the diet, symptoms can rapidly develop.

Initial symptoms are often fatigue, skin problems, decreased resistance to and recovery from bugs and infections and sore joints. After as little as a month on a vitamin C free diet, symptoms of scurvy can develop, such as brown spots on the skin, particularly legs, soft, swollen and bleeding gums and bleeding from the mucous membranes. If left untreated, scurvy may eventually end in death.

Vitamin C deficiency is easily treated, and resuming an adequate level of vitamin C in the diet will quickly resolve the symptoms.

Too much vitamin C

If taking an excess about of vitamin C, such as 1000mg daily, this may begin to irritate the digestive tract, and you may experience symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhoea and excess wind. Some people may also experience headaches. In general, however, the body excretes what it does not use, so instances of overdosing on vitamin C are rare. Restoring an adequate level of this vitamin into the diet should quickly reverse symptoms.


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  • Jackie Ruffoni's photo avatar
    Jackie Ruffoni — 06.04.2017 07:35
    Hi, I have had a virus which I am now recovering from, 6 weeks ago. Have been taking homoeopathy, vit c, zinc and echinacea as advised but not your brand. After reading the above info I am wondering whether to up the strength as I feel it is returning? It all started when I took up exercise classes. After 2 weeks I was suffering, sore throat, coughing, headaches, for 6 weeks. Went back yesterday, Zumba, and this morning feel symptoms are returning. Does exercise strip your health of vitamins? What are the brown spots mentioned above? I have some on my face, is there a picture? Thank you.


    • Emma's photo avatar
      Emma — 06.04.2017 09:10
      Hi Jackie, yes it sounds like you are on the right track, after a viral infection you can be more vulnerable to contracting secondary infections which is why the Echinacea is so useful. Rather than upping the dose you might want to try our Echinaforce instead, we use fresh Echinacea which is preferable. Exercise can put our immune system under pressure if in excess, or if you are already vulnerable, i.e. during recovery. The brown spots above are a symptom of scurvy which is very rare nowadays, these are more likely to be age spots, also called liver spots, which are harmless spots which are formed as a result of natural pigments in the skin, often after years of sun exposure. Only if they were to change in shape or appearance would we recommend you get these checked by a doctor.


    • Jackie Ruffoni's photo avatar
      Jackie Ruffoni — 07.04.2017 05:47
      Thanks Emma. My homoeopath did actually advise your brand of Echinacea but unable to buy locally. Will buy from here now. I am in a quandary over exercise. Wanting to do something but not knowing when I will be fully recovered to feel the immune system is strong enough again to support my body. The brown spots I have are on each temple. The right side worse. Driving maybe? Getting bigger and one thicker and course, much like a wart. Laser was discussed but only privately and expensive. Can I treat as in a wart removal treatment? I cover with makeup daily along with my very bad dark under eye and sockets. Always tired sensitive. I have always been pale skinned, easily burned in the sun. Use 50spf daily now. Probably too late. Any suggestions for these other ailments too? Thanks again.


    • Emma's photo avatar
      Emma — 07.04.2017 09:08
      Hi Jackie, I would just try to introduce exercise gradually back into your regime whilst taking the Echinaforce, don’t do too much too soon. I would recommend going to your doctor for this, if the area is changing in appearance your doctor should be able to examine you, make a diagnosis and suggest the appropriate course of treatment. We do have some pages on warts and other similar skin conditions if this was relevant to you after seeing the doctor:



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