Vitamin C plays an important role in the growth and repair of the tissues of your body, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, a protein that is the building block of skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Without a sufficient amount of vitamin C, your body would have a very difficult time healing your wounds and repairing and maintaining your bones and teeth. Vitamin C also plays a role in protecting your body against many illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, the common cold, cancer and a host of other maladies.
Dosages for Adults
Men older than 18 should take 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day, MayoClinic.com reports. Women who are older than 18 years old need to take 75 milligrams a day. If you are pregnant, you need 85 milligrams a day, and if you are a breastfeeding mother, you need 120 milligrams a day. If you smoke, you need to increase your daily intake of vitamin C by an additional 35 milligrams because smoking depletes vitamin C. As a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C is not stored in the body; your body uses what it needs and discards the excess through your urine. In spite of this, it is important that you do not take more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day if you are an adult, regardless of whether you are pregnant, nursing or a smoker.
Effect of High Doses
Because vitamin C is water soluble and your body cannot store the vitamin, overdosing on vitamin C is rare, MedlinePlus.com reports. In spite of this, taking amounts greater than 2,000 milligrams a day is not recommended because doing so can lead to many severe effects such as kidney stones, stomach upset, nausea and diarrhea, MayoClinic.com reports. People with conditions that are worsened by taking in too much acid such as cirrhosis, gout, renal tubular acidosis or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria should avoid taking high doses of vitamin C.
Vitamin C Deficiency
On the other hand, not having enough vitamin C is also a bad situation and can lead to symptoms such as dry and splitting hair, inflammation of the gums, bleeding gums, rough, dry and scaly skin, decreased wound-healing rate, easy bruising, nosebleeds, weakened tooth enamel, swollen and painful joints, anemia, a decreased ability to fight infection and possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism, MedlinePlus.com reports. Being severely deficient in vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a condition that brings on general weakness, anemia, gum disease and skin hemorrhages.
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, oranges, green peppers, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, strawberries, kiwi, mango and tomatoes are some foods that are excellent sources of vitamin C, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Other rich sources of vitamin C are red and green peppers, raw and cooked leafy greens such as turnip greens and spinach, potatoes, winter squash, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and pineapple. Since vitamin C is sensitive to light, air and heat, you will get the most vitamin C if you choose to eat your fruits and vegetables raw or cooked lightly. You can also get vitamin C from a varied selection of dietary supplements that contain the vitamin.