Vitamin C - Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has several important functions.

These include:

  • 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
  • peppers
  • strawberries
  • blackcurrants
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • potatoes

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

Slaintecare logo
This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Talk to a breastfeeding expert