Vitamin C seems to be the miracle anti-oxidant, but over-do it and you could end up toxifying your body. So how much vitamin C do you need? How much vitamin C is too much?
Also do vitamin C-rich skin creams really work? Let’s explore the answers.
During summer you probably ate more fresh fruits and vegetables, thus, more vitamin C. A few years ago, Unilever studied the effects of increased dietary vitamin C consumption and the appearance of wrinkles and aging skin. They found that middle-aged women who consumed higher amounts of dietary vitamin C lowered their risk of wrinkle appearance by 10%, regardless of their age, race, or sunlight exposure.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is necessary for collagen production (read: firm skin) and acts as an antioxidant to protect tissues, like your skin, gums, cell membranes, and eyes against free radical damage. As a result, vitamin C helps a cut or scrape heal faster and keep your skin, connective tissue, blood vessels, and teeth strong. It also regenerates other antioxidants in your body, like vitamin E and selenium, to optimize their cancer-fighting properties.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90mg for men and 75mg for women. Smokers should add 35mg to that amount. A half cup of strawberries, kiwi, cooked Brussels sprouts, raw green bell pepper or broccoli contains more than half your daily allowance. Vitamin C is water soluble and heat sensitive, so steam or sauté vegetable quickly to retain more vitamins.
You may have seen vitamin C in your favorite skin creams, and science tells us that it might have a beneficial effect in your skin. Look for ascorbyl palmitate or ascorbyl stearate – also known as “vitamin C ester” (not to be confused with Ester-C®, aka calcium ascorbate). This fat soluble form of vitamin C is easily absorbed and acts locally in skin cells to prevent oxidative damage and support collagen production. If you insist on taking a vitamin C supplement, take no more than 100mg of ascorbic acid at one time for best absorption. And, never take more than 2000mg of vitamin C per day to prevent unwanted stomach irritation and diarrhea. Too much may actually increase your risk of cancer by overpowering necessary oxidation in your body and upsetting the natural antioxidant balance.
The bottom line is that if you’re eating 4-6 cups (8-10 servings) of fruits and veggies a day, you’re getting more than enough. This amount will contribute about 5x the RDA, but won’t be overloading your system with unusable vitamin C. Bring on the berries!