How does vitamin C affect your bones?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient required to make strong collagen. This is important because 90% of the protein in the bone matrix is collagen. Without adequate vitamin C, we cannot make strong collagen to support our bones, and they become weak and vulnerable to fracture.
My vitamin C story
Since I learned about vitamin C, I’ve been experimenting with various forms and amounts. I have taken liposomal, acerola, amla, magnesium ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, and pure ascorbic acid. Today, I eat foods that are rich in vitamin C, and take a supplement made from whole fruits.
Which foods are rich in vitamin C?
Many plant foods are rich in vitamin C:
Asparagus, balsam pear, beet greens, broccoli, broccoli raab, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, dandelion greens, garlic, grapefruit, green cauliflower, kiwifruit, kohlrabi, kumquat, lemons, mangos, mustard greens, papayas, passion fruit, peas, peppermint, persimmons, pineapple, strawberries, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, zucchini, cantaloupe, kale, and oranges.
Here are some animal foods rich in vitamin C:
Adrenal glands, beef/veal thymus and lungs, fish roe (eggs), liver, lamb/veal brain, lamb/pork pancreas, lamb spleen.
Some processed foods are fortified with vitamin C and may contain high levels.
How much vitamin C do you need?
According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 milligrams (mg) per day for adult men, 75 mg for adult women. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient the FNB estimates is required to meet the nutritional needs of nearly all healthy people. Unlike many other species, humans cannot make vitamin C, and need to include it in their diet.
Food labels specify the amount of vitamin C as the percent of daily value, currently 90 milligrams. To get the actual amount multiply the percent daily value in a serving by 90. For example, a one teaspoon serving of acerola cherry powder provides 800% of its daily value or 720 mg (90 times 8.00).
Your dietary requirements are unique. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice on your particular needs.
Which vitamin C rich foods do you like?
Let me know your favorites in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
For more information:
Your Bones by Lara Pizzorno, MA with Jonathan V. Wright, MD
Vitamin and Minerals 101 by Chris Masterjohn, PhD
Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Fact Sheets
High Vitamin C intake is associated with lower 4-year bone less in elderly men.
Daily Value on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels
Photo credit: Rogerio da Silva