If you value your healthy smile and enjoy having teeth, you will want to eat that orange and keep up your vitamin C levels! A severe form of vitamin C deficiency will lead to scurvy which was prominent among sailors hundreds of years ago as there was a limited supply of fresh fruit available on the high seas during long sea voyages. It was a common sight to see sailors with missing teeth or rotted smiles. Thankfully we do not suffer from these problems today.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in the human body. One of the most important functions of vitamin C is to act as an antioxidant and protect against heart disease by protecting LDL cholesterol from the oxidative effects of free radicals. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron which helps maintain the capillaries, bones and teeth. It is important to get adequate amounts of vitamin C during cold and flu season as well, because this vitamin is known to prevent many illnesses. Everything from the common cold, to more devastating diseases such as cancer can be prevented from adequate amounts of vitamin C.
Humans do not have the ability to manufacture their own vitamin C; therefore we must consume foods that are rich in this vitamin. The most common foods to find vitamin C in are citrus fruits, strawberries, red peppers, pineapple, tomatoes, melons, cranberries, currants, broccoli, brussel sprouts, potatoes, and parsley.
If you are deficient in vitamin C you may notice dry and splitting hair, inflamed and bleeding gums, rough, dry and scaly skin, a decreased rate of wound healing or easy bruising, nosebleeds, swollen and painful joints, increased sickness and anemia.
Vitamin C is found in every cell in the body, however it is especially useful in certain systems of the body including, blood, skin, the nervous system, teeth and bones and the glands such as the thymus, adrenals and thyroid.
If you choose to supplement with vitamin C, the recommended level is 120-200 mg a day for a healthy adult. This amount may help to ward off common illnesses such as colds or flu. Some people experience mild side effects with vitamin C supplementation such as diarrhea, with even small doses. However, many people can take much larger amounts and not have any side effects at all.
You may not need to supplement at all if you eat a balanced diet, however you may wish to supplement only during the winter when most people tend not to eat as many fresh fruits and the incidence of colds and flu increases.