How Much Vitamin C Do We Need? From Infancy to Adulthood

October 26, 2020

How Much Vitamin C Do We Need? From Infancy to Adulthood

Cold and flu season is upon us and we always hear about the importance of vitamin C during this time. This month we explore vitamin C in more detail, looking at the crucial role it plays in our bodies, where we can find it, and how to ensure our little ones are receiving enough of the recommended daily values. 

The Importance of Vitamin C
In our August blog: Eating a Rainbow of Foods, we talked about the role vitamin C plays within the human body—here is a quick overview:

    • Provides a natural defence against inflammation
    • Fights off free radicals and helps prevent damage to cells
    • Helps build collagen (important for teeth, bones, and blood vessels)
    • Promotes optimal skin health
    • Aids in wound healing
    • May help prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections
    • Helps to protect cognitive functioning [i] [ii]

Although vitamin C deficiency is quite rare, a poor diet, lifestyle, life-stage, disease, or exposure to pollutants can lead to inadequate levels. Severe vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy—a potentially fatal disease. [iii] Scurvy is characterized by brown spots on the skin, roughening of the skin, thickened gums and bleeding, weakness, fatigue, poor wound healing, bone pain, jaundice, as well as nerve involvement. [iv] 

What are the Recommended Daily Values for Vitamin C?
The chart below shows the recommended %DV for male, female, for pregnancy and lactation [v]:

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that cannot be produced by the human body and is consumed from natural sources or supplements. [vi] Below is a summary of some foods containing vitamin C. The following table references the Daily Value Percentage (%DV) for an adult male requiring 90 mg. You can increase or decrease portions to achieve the recommended daily value. For example, if you are breastfeeding, you would want to increase your portions to ensure your baby is able to obtain the recommended daily value. 

Chart showing sources of vitamin C, serving size, ranked by milligrams and percent daily value [vii]

Tidbits and Key Takeaways

During the cold season, it may be beneficial to increase the intake of vitamin C as a prophylactic treatment. Evidence suggests that increasing vitamin C before developing a cold can shorten the length of symptoms; however, waiting until the onset of a cold will have no significant impact on the duration of symptoms. [viii]

Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

    • Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that the body does not produce and must be consumed from natural sources and/or supplements
    • Vitamin C provides a natural defense against infections and inflammation and is good for wound, skin, bone, respiratory, and cognitive functioning
    • Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy—a potentially fatal disease
    • If you are breastfeeding, you should increase your consumption of vitamin C to ensure your infant is receiving the recommended daily value
    • Increasing vitamin C during the cold season may help shorten the duration of a cold

In our book,
Recipes for Growing Me ~9-months, we’ve highlighted our love for vitamin C:

C is for...vitamin C

One two three
Hooray for vitamin C
And look at the variety
Where you will find me
Raw fruits and veggies
Only name a few
You cannot ignore me
I will find you
I’m a fighter to the colds
And produce collagen too
Ask me to marry you
And I will say ‘I do’

We hope we’ve contributed something beneficial to your diet, and remember…don’t hog the blog! Share it with loved ones today! 

Have a bloomin’ day!
Sarah & Karen

P.S. Want to learn more from our baby’s first cookbook series Recipes for Growing Me ~6 months bookOrder today and save 15% off! Use code BLOGHOG.  Say hello on Facebook or follow us on Instagram


[i] Carr, A., Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients, 9, 1211; doi:10.33390/nu9111211

[ii] Estroff Marano, H., (2018). C Sharp: The cognitive benefits of vitamin C are nothing to sniffle at. Psychology Today, January/February, pp. 35-36. 

[iii] Carr, A., Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients, 9, 1211; doi:10.33390/nu9111211

[iv] Cleveland Clinic, (2020). The benefits of vitamin C: Why your child needs it. Pediatrics, 24, August. 

[v] National Institutes of Health, (2020). Vitamin C. 

[vi] Hill, A., (2020). Vitamin C for babies: safety, efficacy, and dosage. 

[vii] National Institutes of Health, (2020). Vitamin C. 

[viii] National Institutes of Health, (2020). Vitamin C.

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