What Is Vitamin C & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Vitamin C (src)

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid.

It’s an essential nutrient and an important antioxidant.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and an important cofactor that is involved in the regulation of the development, function, and maintenance of several cell types in the body.

It’s the most potent enhancer of nonheme iron absorption.

Vitamin c is naturally present in fruits and vegetables and has many health benefits. It is most important for its antioxidant properties.

Table of Contents

Vitamin C Is Essential

Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate.

The body requires vitamin C for normal physiological functions. (source )

Vitamin C has three main roles in human metabolism – enzyme cofactor, chemical reductant, and antioxidant. (source )

Benefits Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It’s the first line of defense against free radicals and oxidative stress.

To fight free radicals, vitamin c’s ability to neutralize the toxic byproducts of the body’s metabolism is essential.

It also has the ability to help the body absorb iron, which is essential for blood production and helps in maintaining healthy skin.

Another important property of vitamin c is its ability to stimulate collagen synthesis. Collagen is the body’s main structural protein, and its lack is the main cause of wrinkles.

Bioavailability Of Vitamin C

The bioavailability of vitamin C in foods and beverages can be significantly reduced by the presence of polyphenols.

Polyphenols are potent antioxidants present in certain food and beverages.

The polyphenols can react with ascorbic acid in the intestinal tract, thereby decreasing the absorption of ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C Can Easily Be Destroyed

Ascorbic acid can be easily destroyed by heat.

Foods can therefore lose their ascorbic acid content because of cooking or oxidation.

The vitamin C content in food can also decrease with prolonged storage. (source )

Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means that the vitamin can also seep into cooking liquid and be lost if the liquids are not eaten.

To keep the most vitamin C in the food is the most suitable cooking technique in terms of vitamin C retention is steaming.

Vitamin C Every Day

Humans are unable to synthesize ascorbic acid.

Therefore, we need to obtain vitamin C from our daily diet.

Vitamin C supplementation

Supplementation with vitamin C is very common. But a balanced diet should give you all the vitamin C you need.

If you do take vitamin C supplements, be sure to stay within the recommended limits, because to much vitamin C can give you side-effects.

When the dosage is too high, side effects can include diarrhea, headache, nausea, muscle cramps, rash, and vomiting.

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin c deficiency is a common nutritional disorder.

Vitamin C deficiency leads to serious health problems such as scurvy, a disease which can cause a variety of health problems, including a weakened immune system and bleeding gums.

The best way to prevent vitamin C deficiency is to ensure that you get adequate amounts of vitamin C through your diet.

Foods You Can Find Vitamin C In

You find Vitamin C mostly in baby food, beverages, vegetables, and fruits.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Vitamin C, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Vitamin C.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.