Let's Talk Vitamin C

You’ve probably heard that vitamin C supports your immune system. This essential micronutrient seems to be everywhere! And it’s a good thing because, unlike most mammals, humans can’t synthesise vitamin C on their own. Also, vitamin C is water-soluble, which means the body quickly loses this essential vitamin through urine, so it’s important to make vitamin C a daily part of your diet.

Having extremely low levels of vitamin C for prolonged periods can result in scurvy, a historical disease linked to pirates and sailors who faced long journeys at sea without fresh fruits and vegetables. While cases of scurvy in South Africa are rare, vitamin C deficiency is still a concern. A study indicated that a significant portion of the South African population does not meet the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Approximately 30.5% of women aged 15 to 49 are affected by nutrient deficiencies, including vitamin C. Moreover, a survey found that around 21.4% of children under five are affected by stunting, which can be related to various nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin C​ (Dr. Rath Health Foundation)​​ (Global Nutrition Report)​.

How Much Vitamin C Do I Need?

The recommended daily dietary allowance of vitamin C varies, but experts suggest around 75 mg for women and 90mg for men. To gain favourable health benefits, an estimated 200mg of vitamin C daily is often recommended. Adults can take up to 2,000mg of vitamin C per day; however, high doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Due to the varying health needs of individuals, it’s always a good idea to work with your healthcare practitioner to ensure that you are getting the right amounts of micronutrients in your daily diet.

Where Can You Find This Marvelous, Multifaceted Micronutrient?


  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits
  • Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Guava (one of the highest Vitamin C contents per serving)
  • Melons: Cantaloupe, watermelon


  • Bell peppers (especially red bell peppers)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Snow peas

Vitamin C Health Benefits:

Immune Support

Enhances the production and function of white blood cells, boosting the body's ability to fight infections.

Antioxidant Properties

Protects cells from damage caused by free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Collagen Synthesis

Essential for the production of collagen, a protein vital for the health of skin, blood vessels, bones, and connective tissue.

Wound Healing

Aids in the repair and growth of tissues, speeding up the healing process of wounds.

Iron Absorption

Enhances the absorption of non-heme iron from plant-based foods, helping prevent iron deficiency anaemia.

Heart Health

May reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and by preventing arterial damage.

Eye Health

Contributes to overall eye health and may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Skin Health

Protects skin from damage caused by UV rays and pollution, and helps maintain a youthful appearance by reducing wrinkles and dryness.

Cognitive Function

May have a protective effect on brain health, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Gout Prevention

May help lower blood uric acid levels, reducing the risk of gout attacks.

Ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin C through a balanced diet or supplements can support these various aspects of health.

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