Find out about vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid), including what it does, how much you need, and good sources of it.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has several important functions.
- helping to protect cells and keeps them healthy
- maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
- helping with wound healing
Lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. Mild deficiencies may occur in infants given unsupplemented cows' milk and in people with poor or very restricted diets.
Good sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include:
- oranges and orange juice
- red and green peppers
- brussels sprouts
How much vitamin C do I need?
Adults (19-64 years) need 40mg of vitamin C a day.
You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet.
Vitamin C can't be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.
What happens if I take too much vitamin C?
Taking large amounts (more than 1,000mg per day) of vitamin C can cause:
These symptoms should disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements.
What does the Department of Health advise?
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, don't 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.