The Surprising Reason I Need More Vitamin C Than The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

Vitamin C

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

 

Vitamin C is one of those popular nutrients that I have heard about for most of my life. I have read or been told that I need to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies to ensure that I get enough of this popular vitamin. And when I don’t have time to eat enough fresh produce, there are many tasty vitamin C supplements that will fill the void.

I have even become familiar with what my recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C should be as an adult female over the age of 18. It’s 75 mg, which is roughly equivalent to a medium orange. The RDA is higher for males (90 mg), smokers (smoking lowers vitamin C in the body so they need 35 mg more per day), pregnant women (85 mg) and breastfeeding women (120 mg). Athletes may need an extra 100 mg of vitamin C because of the increased stress on their body from exercise. People who are continually stressed, who have an overactive thyroid, intestinal diseases, a stomach ulcer, alcoholism and other health conditions may require extra vitamin C.

 

The consequences of not having enough vitamin C are well-known. Signs of deficiency include dry and splitting hair; gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bleeding gums; rough, dry, scaly skin; decreased wound-healing rate, easy bruising; nosebleeds; and a decreased ability to ward off infection. Severe vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy. Scurvy causes general weakness, anemia, gum disease, and skin hemorrhages.

 

Simply having low levels of vitamin C has been associated with high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke, some cancers and atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that can cause heart attack and stroke).

What you may not know …

Individuals may require different levels depending on their genetic ability to keep vitamin C in their bodies.

I am one of those people who assumed that if I ate lots of fruits and veggies I would be OK, but that’s not quite the case. My nutrient test results revealed low levels of vitamin C despite a diet high in vitamin C. I learned the following after further genetic testing: “You are expected to have low levels of vitamin C in serum by genetic factors. Therefore, you should take vitamin C supplements for your healthy life.” The more technical explanation involved the effectiveness of the SLC23A1 gene.

This means that the RDA would not be adequate to keep my body functioning optimally if I have difficulty absorbing the vitamin C that I take in.

Be proactive

 You may require different levels of vitamin C depending on your genetic ability to keep vitamin C in your body. Be aware of your predisposition to absorbing vitamin C and consume an adequate amount. Talk to your doctor about testing your nutrient levels to determine whether you are deficient in necessary vitamins or minerals. If you are deficient, you might consider genetic testing to find out about your genetic predispositions.

 

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

 

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