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Clinician’s Corner: Vitamin-C

Last week we wrapped up the B- complex vitamins, so here is our last water-soluble vitamin

Vitamin-C   (ascorbic acid)

Source:  citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe.

Uses in the body:  Is necessary for wound healing and health of the small blood vessels.

Deficiency States

  • Scurvy: due to increased requirements or low intake.  Became common during long voyages at sea. The timeline for the development of scurvy varies, depending on vitamin C body stores, but signs can appear within 1 month of little or no vitamin C intake (below 10 mg/day)
  • Will see weakened small blood vessels in the mouth, loose teeth and hemorrhages. In children abnormal bone and tooth development.  May see swollen joints.
  • Adverse effects: kidney stones, stomach irritation & diarrhea at high doses
  • Beneficial drug interaction: increases iron absorption. Your Thompson Pharmacist recommends patients to take orange juice (or Vitamin-C) with their iron supplements to help double the absorption of the iron.

Adequate intake levels for Vitamin-C:

  • Men age 19 and older: 90 mg/day
  • Women age 19 year and older: 75 mg/day
  • Smokers (or if exposed to second hand smoke): add 35mg

Vitamin-C and the common cold: In the general population, use of vitamin C modestly reduced cold duration by 8% in adults and 14% in children. When taken after the onset of cold symptoms, vitamin C did not affect cold duration or symptom severity.  Best to take Vitamin-C long term, as its benefits at the start of cold are minimal.  Your Thompson Pharmacist recommends adequate fluid intake and frequent hand washing or sanitizing during cold season.  Make sure you get your flu shot as well.

Excess supplementation of Vitamin-C:  Taking excessive doses isn’t more beneficial and may cause adverse effects. The most common complaints are diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal disturbances.  Excess supplementation is not recommended in any patients with a likelihood to form oxalate stones in the kidney, especially men.  Your Thompson Pharmacist is an excellent resource for vitamin therapy.  Sometimes more is NOT always better, especially with Vitamin-C.  Go Ahead and ASK… at Thompson Pharmacy it’s all for YOU!