A water-soluble vitamin C6H8O6 found in plants and especially in fruits and leafy vegetables or made synthetically and used in the prevention and treatment of scurvy and as an antioxidant for foods. It is also called ascorbic acid.

Apparently, all mammals are able to produce vitamin c internally, with the exception of humans and guinea pigs.

Your favorite sources of Vitamin C are oranges, orange juice, grapefruits, perhaps kiwi as well.

Supposedly Vitamin C will help fight a bad cold, and it does seem to help, but it could also be an old wives' tale.

Vitamin C supplements tend to be yummy orange-flavored candy. These are great, and best of all, there isn't much risk of overdosing on vitamin c.

Vitamin C is used by your body to make collagen, a protein substance that is used for all connective tissues in your body (bones, teeth, skin, & tendons). Collagen is also forms the scar tissue that heals wounds.

Vitamin C also helps your body guard against infection, aids in the absorption of iron, and is necessary for the production of thyroxin.

Humans are among an elite and random group of animals that do not produce their own vitamin C. Also included are the other great apes, fruit bats, the Bulbul bird, a species of trout, and the mighty guinea pig. No one really knows why we're so special.


We first isolated vitamin C from lemon juice in 1932.

Before the 1800s it was common for sailors on long sea voyages to come down with Scurvy, due to the lack of fruits and vegetables at sea. (Meat and biscuits stored better). The first nutrition experiment conducted on humans was done in 1747 by Dr. James Lind, a British physician. He took six pairs of sailors with scurvy and gave each pair either vinegar, sulfuric acid, sea water, orange, or lemon. The two pairs who got citrus fruits recovered.

50 years later, the British navy finally required all ships to carry enough limes to prevent scurvy in the crews. The term Limey was used to mock British sailors because of this.

Vitamin C has sometimes been shown to reduce the severity of the common cold (when taken in large doses at the first sign of symptoms), although studies have come to very different conclusions for no apparent reason; the usefulness of vitamin C for cold prevention/reduction may depend highly on the individual. It may also help prevent heart disease.


The RDA (US) for vitamin C is 60 mg per day for adults, 35 mg daily for infants. The Food Standards Agency (UK) recommends 40 mg per day for adults. It is possible that this is not the optimal level, and many people recommend higher doses. Overdoses may be hazardous, although even 1000% of the RDA would not cause an overdose. At about 5000 mg you may experience diarrhea; the LD50 is 11900 mg/kg. Other negative effects, including vitamin C being a possible carcinogen, are as of yet unproven.

You can get vitamin C from citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.), dark green leafy vegetables (kale, mustard greens, spinach, arugula, etc.), and many other random fruits and vegetables (tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes; guava, papayas, strawberries, cantaloupe, mangoes, and many others). Cooking can destroy vitamin C, so eat these raw when you can. (However, this rule does not apply to potatoes. Cook those, but leave the skins on, as that is where the happy vC goodness lies.) Vitamin C is water soluble, so boiling can suck it out of foods; steaming or lightly simmering will reduce vitamin loss.

You can get enough vitamin C to get by on from meat, but only if it is eaten raw, as some Eskimos do (or once did, anyway) to get them through the plantless winter; they may also have gotten some vC though eating the half-digested contents of Elk's stomachs. It's better to just eat your fruit and veggies.

You can also buy spiffy little pills that let you bypass the cooking, chewing, and calories all together.

AKA Ascorbic Acid, or more specifically, L-ascorbic acid.

Doses of vitamin C up to 250mg per day are pretty safe. Higher doses up to about 1000mg per day are probably safe if you drink sufficient amounts of water.

Linus Pauling advocated megadoses of vitamin C - he reputedly took up to 90g per day for himself. Whilst the recommended daily allowance is a small fraction of this, the fact that he lived to his 90s shows that vitamin C is not as toxic as you might imagine. Vitamin C is water soluble anyhow and does not build up in the body as long as you are well hydrated.

One known reaction to taking too much vitamin C is an increased risk of the formation of urinary tract stones.

Colleen Fitzpatrick was once the singer for the all-but-forgotten alternative/rock band Eve's Plum. Since breaking up, and now calling herself Vitamin C, she has set about reinventing herself as a pop artist. In late 1999, she released her self-titled debut album. The first single released from this CD was Smile. The contents of this CD:

  1. Smile (*)
  2. Turn Me On (*)
  3. Me, Myself and I
  4. Unhappy Anniversary (*)
  5. Not That Kind of Girl
  6. Do What You Want To Do
  7. Girls Against Boys
  8. I Got You
  9. Money
  10. About Last Night
  11. Fear of Flying
  12. Graduation (Friends Forever) (*)

Songs marked (*) are my personal favourites. I loved this CD, even though it was definately a pop CD, which is usually out of reach when I'm buying things. But after hearing Graduation on Much Music, I had to have this.

    H  OH H  OH OH
    |  |  |  |  |
HO--C--C--C--C==C--C==O
    |  |  |        |
    H  H  -----O----

1. Rotate cranium +90o to view.
2. Ignore step 1 if not (bio)chemist.

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