You know when a cold is coming on. You feel achy, stuffy and sneezy. So many of us reach for a bottle of vitamin C, which can help ward off the symptoms of the common cold. But now experts are buzzing about the daily need for vitamin C and why you probably need more of it than you already get and the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Joy Stephenson-Laws, founder of Proactive Health Labs, says that while the recommended daily allowance for women of vitamin C is 75 milligrams, which is the equivalent of a medium-size orange, “Some people will not get enough of the RDA because of a genetic deficiency and as a result, supplements need to be taken or they need to eat more food that are rich in vitamin C to ensure that the body absorbs an adequate amount.”
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“There are a variety of studies which suggest that many Americans do not get the recommended daily allowance. For example, in 2014, it was reported that inadequate intake of vitamins tends to be more common among 14- to 18-year-old teenagers,” says Stephenson-Laws.
So how can you tell if you’re not getting enough vitamin C every day and if you need more? Stephenson-Laws says the best way to tell is with a nutrient test. “That way you will know exactly how much to take so you can achieve your optimal level. You might think that you are consuming enough vitamin C, but your body may not be absorbing adequate amounts or the food source does not have as much vitamin C as it should.”
The best sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, citrus juices, red and green peppers, broccoli, strawberries and tomatoes. “Certain foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin C. To find out if vitamin C has been added to a food product, you can check the product labels. It is important to bear in mind that the vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and cooking,” says Stephenson-Laws. “Steaming certain foods may reduce the loss of vitamin C from cooking. However, many of the best food sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, are usually eaten raw.”
Not only can a vitamin C deficiency result in a decreased ability to heal wounds, but it can also cause dry skin and hair, gingivitis and bleeding gums.
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