Vitamin C deficiency leads to many ailments

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient often linked with immune supportive roles.

It plays an important role in the production of neurotransmitters, collagen production, as well as being a co-factor in various enzymes responsible for energy production.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and must be consumed in the diet as we do not manufacture it in the body. Captain Cook discovered having barrels of sauerkraut on board his ships helped to prevent scurvy. Shockingly, there has been a re-emergence of scurvy in modern day populations as this deficiency is on the rise. Bleeding gums, bruising easily, low mood and/ or poor wound healing can all be signs of a deficiency.

Vitamin C absorption takes place in the small intestine. Intestinal dysfunction may reduce absorption, therefore if you have been diagnosed with Coeliac disease or experience IBS or other conditions associated with the digestive tract, you may be low in this nutrient.

Small frequent doses of vitamin C from food and supplements appear more efficacious than large doses. Low doses of 200-400mg results in 100% absorption, however if 500mg is exceeded, bioavailability reduces, decreasing to approximately 30% when 1000mg is consumed orally in one bout. This is due to maximal saturation of the intestinal transporter called SVCTI.

Iron absorption is dependent on vitamin C although human clinical trials have not yet proven iron with vitamin C in a supplement to be superior to iron supplementation alone for anaemic patients. This may be because an ascorbic acid-to-iron molar ratio of 2:1 is necessary to increase iron bioavailability and most studies do not meet this.

In individuals with diabetic foot ulcers, vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) (500mg/day for 8 weeks) was shown to increase wound healing compared to controls. The vitamin C group recorded no amputations compared to 5 amputations seen in the control group.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
A 2021 single blind RCT observed that 600mg/day of vitamin C taken for 2 weeks sped up wound healing associated with dental extraction, with reduced socket depth observed in the vitamin C group compared to the controls.

The benefits of vitamin C are enhanced when used in combination with bioflavonoids compared to the use of vitamin C alone so if looking for a supplement, choose one with bioflavonoids present.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Banana and kiwi parfait


1 medium banana

½ cup plain Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt

1 Tbsp hemp seeds

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp raw almonds, roughly chopped

1 kiwifruit, peeled and diced

Mash banana with a fork and add to yoghurt, hemp seeds and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Place into a decorative glass (or container to take to work).

Top with kiwifruit and then almonds and enjoy.