What is Vitamin C’s role in the body?

vitaminc Feb 01, 2021

Vitamin C is responsible for managing many body functions, like keeping tissues together, producing thyroid hormones and optimising mental health.

It an essential antioxidant which is one of the bodies best lines of defence! But what happens if we cannot get enough Vitamin C? Today we will answer this question, as well as provide strategies to increase Vitamin C intake!

Nutritional consequences

A lack of Vitamin C can lead to severe consequences, impacting both physical and mental health.

When our body does not have enough Vitamin C, it starts to break down. This can result in symptoms like:

  • Bleeding
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Slow-healing wounds

This is what happened to sailors and seafarers, with the condition commonly referred to as scurvy. However, when the seamen introduced citrus fruits, like oranges and mandarins, they could avoid the symptoms above. 


Vitamin C deficiency can also lead to...

  1. Thyroid issues. Vitamin C is needed to produce thyroid hormones. When our thyroid hormones are depleted, it affects the production of bile acids and other hormones.
  2. Anaemia. Not having enough Vitamin C can reduce the bodies capacity to absorb iron from plant-based foods. This can negatively affect iron absorption, causing anaemia.
  3. Depression & cognitive impairment. There has been a link between Vitamin C deficiency, fatigue and depression. Studies have found, that those who increase their Vitamin C intake, have improved mental health outcomes. 


Strategies to increase Vitamin C intake

  1. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The more natural colour we consume, the more Vitamin C we obtain. The best sources of Vitamin C are outlined below:
    • Fruit: Citrus fruits (oranges & mandarins), kiwi fruits and strawberries.
    • Vegetables: Green vegetables (broccoli and spinach), capsicum, cauliflower and potato.
  2. Eat a portion of fruit and/or vegetables at every meal. We want to hit our recommended daily intake of Vitamin C (40mg), which is set at preventing deficiency. However, to prevent chronic disease, we want to be shooting upwards of 200mg!
  3. Consider taking a Vitamin C supplement. To hit the higher target it is beneficial to consider taking a Vitamin C supplement. Rest assured, it’s challenging to overdo it on Vitamin C.
  4. Avoid oxidative stressors. For instance, smoking and being overweight. These lifestyle choices can negatively impact your Vitamin C stores.

If you're wanting tailored strategies to optimise Vitamin C intake, book a consult with CQ Nutrition. A lovely dietitian can conduct a comprehensive analysis of your food, and recommend personalised strategies to support optimal health. 


Here is a link to book in with one of our expert dietitians at any of our locations https://www.cqnutrition.com.au/booking/ 

Want an online consultation? Book in on my calendar and in the comments write 'online': https://bit.ly/AnnieROK 

Written by Annabel Johnston, BAppSc&MDietPrac & GCertDiabSt


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