Australian Health Today - - Contents -

What does vi­ta­min C do?

Vi­ta­min C is im­por­tant for:

•keep­ing your skin, bones and con­nec­tive tis­sue healthy

•help­ing wounds heal

•help­ing pre­vent in­fec­tions

•help­ing you ab­sorb iron from your food.

Sources of vi­ta­min C

Vi­ta­min C is found in many dif­fer­ent fruits and veg­eta­bles,



•cit­rus fruits – or­anges, limes and lemons






Cut­ting and heat­ing foods changes vi­ta­min C and makes it less ef­fec­tive. So it helps to eat fruits and veg­eta­bles raw, or lightly cooked, and don’t cut them too long be­fore eat­ing them.

You should be able to get all the vi­ta­min C you need from your diet.

Vi­ta­min C de­fi­ciency

Vi­ta­min C de­fi­ciency may lead to a skin con­di­tion called scurvy. Scurvy was com­mon cen­turies ago, but is now rare be­cause fresh food is nearly al­ways avail­able. Vi­ta­min C de­fi­ciency di­ag­no­sis If your doc­tor sus­pects you have a vi­ta­min C de­fi­ciency be­cause of your diet or symp­toms, they may ask you to have a blood test to check your vi­ta­min C lev­els. who is at risk of vi­ta­min c de­fi­ciency?

Vi­ta­min C de­fi­ciency is rare, but peo­ple at a higher risk in­clude those who:

•find it dif­fi­cult to main­tain a healthy diet of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles (e.g. el­derly peo­ple, low-in­come house­holds, peo­ple with an eat­ing dis­or­der)

•smoke heav­ily or are de­pen­dent on al­co­hol or drugs

•have a health con­di­tion that makes it dif­fi­cult to di­gest food, such as coeliac dis­ease, ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis or Crohn’s dis­ease.

do i need vi­ta­min c sup­ple­ments?

Lots of peo­ple take vi­ta­min sup­ple­ments, but there is no good ev­i­dence that they help un­less you have a de­fi­ciency. Aus­tralia’s best guide to how to eat healthily – the Aus­tralian Di­etary Guide­lines – doesn’t rec­om­mend them.

Vi­ta­min sup­ple­ments are ex­pen­sive. They are best taken only on a doc­tor’s ad­vice.

Most peo­ple get the vi­ta­mins they need from a healthy diet, which has a wide va­ri­ety of foods, in­clud­ing:

•plenty of veg­eta­bles, of dif­fer­ent types and colours, and legumes/ beans


•grain (ce­real) foods, mostly whole­grain, and/or high ce­real fi­bre va­ri­eties such as breads, ce­re­als, rice, pasta, noo­dles, po­lenta, cous­cous, oats, quinoa and bar­ley

•lean meats and poul­try, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans

•milk, yo­ghurt, cheese and/or their al­ter­na­tives, mostly re­duced fat.

Vi­ta­min C de­fi­ciency treat­ment

Health ex­perts usu­ally rec­om­mend that you get vi­ta­min C from your diet, but in some cases your doc­tor may sug­gest you take vi­ta­min C sup­ple­ments. Vi­ta­min C sup­ple­ments can cause ab­dom­i­nal pain and di­ar­rhoea.

You get it each day from what you eat and drink.

sources: Eat For Health (Guide­lines)Med­linePlus (Vi­ta­min C (Ascor­bic acid)) Na­tional Health and Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil (Nu­tri­ent ref­er­ence val­ues for Aus­tralia and New Zealand in­clud­ing rec­om­mended di­etary in­takes) NHS Choices (Vi­ta­min C) NHS Choices (Scurvy) NPS MedicineWise (Vi­ta­min C)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.