What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant to maintain healthy body functions. This is also known as ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C is water soluble or it can be easily dissolved in water. That means this healthy vitamin can be absorbed by our tissues immediately.
What Are The Health Benefits of Vitamin C?
Humans are unable to produce C vitamins in the body which makes dietary vitamin C intake essential for our body.
This vitamin acts as an antioxidant i.e vitamin C removes harmful oxidizing agents from the human body. This reduction of oxidative stress is the major benefit of vitamin C.
Not only that, vitamin C provides numerous health benefits.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient to boost immunity and aid in healthy cell functions. This essential micronutrient is beneficial for the protection of the body against damage caused by the free radicals.
- Reduction of collagen synthesis fibers through hydroxylation of proline and lysine.
- Various cellular functions are required for the immune defense of both the innate and adaptive immune systems.
- Protection against environmental oxidative stress. It is done by promoting epithelial barrier function against pathogens and improving the oxidant scavenging activity of the skin.
- Enhancement of chemotaxis, phagocytosis, generation of reactive oxygen species, and microbial killing.
Furthermore, vitamin C acts as an electron donor which is vital for the human body to survive. Also, this micronutrient is able to reduce necrosis/NETosis and potential tissue damage.
On the other hand, the benefits of vitamin C over skin problems are widely known. The most important skin benefits of vitamin C are (3):
- Wrinkle reduction and slowing down skin aging
- Sunburn and dark spot reduction
- Skin healing
- Maintaining skin hydration
- Protection against UV damage
- Thickening of the skin by strengthening the skin barrier
Also, the anticancer benefits of vitamin C or ascorbic acid are proven in studies. According to studies, high consumption of vitamin C with anti-cancer medicines can be beneficial for breast cancer cells (4).
What Health Problems Occur Because of Vitamin C Deficiency
What is vitamin C deficiency? A serum concentration of less than 11.4 umol/L of C vitamin is defined as vitamin C deficiency.
When does the deficiency of vitamin C occur? Vitamin C deficiency normally occurs after 8 to 12 weeks of inadequate intake.
The initial symptoms of this deficiency are irritability and anorexia. After the initial phase is over multiple health disorders are observed.
These are the most common symptoms or side effects that arise from a deficiency of vitamin C (5):
- Scurvy(a disease with gum bleeding)
- Dry skin and irritation
- Impaired immunity
- Premature aging and wrinkle growth
- Corkscrew hairs
- Perifollicular hemorrhage
- Epigenetic DNA hypermethylation
- Delayed wound healing
However, for extreme cases, some life-threatening diseases like anasarca, hemolysis, jaundice, and convulsions can take place.
What Is The Daily Required Level of Vitamin C?
Our body has very little storage of vitamin C. Because of this, plasma concentration is largely related to recent intake.
Our total vitamin C body storage is 1500 mg. And deficiency occurs when this level is reduced to less than 350 mg.
However, the adequate intake quota of vitamin C differs from age to age. It is also different for males and females.
According to FNB, the standard daily intake of adult males (19+) is 90 mg compared to 75 mg for females. However, for pregnant women and lactation, it should be 85 mg and 120 mg respectively (6).
Can Keto Cause Vitamin C Deficiency?
A well-planned keto diet can not cause vitamin C deficiency because it contains foods high in vitamin C. Common keto fruits and vegetables like strawberries, broccoli, etc are good sources of vitamin C.
Proper intake of these keto friendly foods will never cause deficiency of vitamin C. However, a lot of low carb foods contain a bare minimum amount of vitamin C.
If you add these types of low vitamin C foods, deficiency can occur within a short time frame of 8 to 12 weeks.
How to Overcome Vitamin C Deficiency on Keto?
To overcome the deficiency a regular consumption of vitamin c rich keto foods is required. Although every keto food is not packed with vitamin C, there are some low carb keto approved organic foods that can fulfill the daily required level.
A lot of keto friendly fruits and vegetables are a powerhouse of vitamin C. These low carb foods can easily fulfill your daily vitamin C requirement.
The top 5 safest options are:
Lemon is a citrus fruit and a great source of vitamin C. A 100 gram serving of lemon juice contains 38.7 mg of vitamin C (7).
Broccoli is a keto friendly vegetable with a high amount of vitamin C. With 81.2 mg of vitamin C nutrients, one cup of chopped broccoli almost fulfills daily requirements (8).
Brussels sprouts are also a good source of vitamin C like broccoli. A 100 gram serving of raw brussels sprouts provides 85 mg of vitamin C (9).
Strawberries are one of the best low carb fruit with a high level of ascorbic acid. It provides 58.8 mg of ascorbic acid or vitamin C against a serving size of 100 grams (10).
Redpepper is the powerhouse of vitamin C. You will get more than 100 mg aka 128 mg of vitamin C from this low carb veggie against 100 gram serving (11).