Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has several important functions.
- helping to protect cells and keeping them healthy
- maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
- helping with wound healing
A lack of vitamin C in your diet for at least 3 months can lead to scurvy.
You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
If you take vitamin C supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful. Taking less than 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.
Good sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.
Good sources include:
- citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice
- brussels sprouts
How much vitamin C you need
Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day.
You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet.
Your body cannot store vitamin C, so you need it in your diet every day.
Effects of taking too much vitamin C
Taking large amounts (more than 1,000mg per day) of vitamin C can cause:
These symptoms should disappear when you stop taking vitamin C supplements.
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE