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vitamin c

Supplement spotlight: Vitamin C

janeen howardCold and flu season and upping your Vitamin C intake often go hand in hand, but do you really know whether it’s worthwhile taking a supplement or if you can get enough from a few extra oranges?

We asked Go Healthy New Zealand naturopath Janeen Howard for some hints and tips when it comes to taking Vitamin C.

How much Vitamin C should you take a day when it comes to supplements?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is 75mg per day for women, and 90mg per day for men. For smokers, the RDA goes up to 110mg per day for women, and 125mg per day for men. However, the dosing can vary anywhere from 250mg up to 10grams per day, depending on age, weight and ailment.

When we are talking about supplementing with Vitamin C, the dose generally is 500-1000mg as a daily maintenance dose, with dosing increasing under periods of extra stress or illness.

What happens if you take too much Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is considered very safe, although large doses may cause loose bowels. This can be rectified by reducing the dose.

vitamin cTo make it effective against winter illnesses, do you need to take a supplement to get adequate doses?

Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, but you would need to eat a large amount to help fight off a virus. To give your immune system that extra boost and keep winter lurgies at bay, a high potency Vitamin C supplement (such as Go Healthy Extra-C 1200) is recommended. A therapeutic dose will also help to reduce the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms.

When should you take Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, which means any excess cannot be stored. Therefore we must consume it regularly to maintain good health. Vitamin C may be one of the most powerful water soluble antioxidant vitamins around. It helps to fight and protect the body from free radical damage. It is particularly good for helping to fight off viruses, but also is depleted from the body during periods of stress, from certain medications, smoking, alcohol and through exercise. All this means it is a valuable vitamin to have on a daily basis.


There are a number of Vitamin C supplements which are generally available at supermarkets and selected pharmacies. These include:

vitamin c


Images / Vitamin C (FreeDigitalPhotos.net – piyaphantawong); Supplements and profile (Supplied)

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