How much vitamin C do we need and how much do we excrete?
Vitamin C: How much do we need and how much do we excrete?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for many body functions. It plays a central role in collagen production, wound healing and immune system function. But how much vitamin C do we really need and how much of it is excreted by our body? Let's get to the bottom of these questions.
The daily need for vitamin C
Daily vitamin C requirements may vary depending on age, gender and lifestyle. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a daily intake of 95 mg for adult women and 110 mg for men. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have increased needs. Smokers should also consume more vitamin C, as smoking can reduce vitamin C levels in the blood.
It is important to note that these recommendations are based on averages. People with certain illnesses, intensive exercise programs or special living circumstances may have different needs.
How much vitamin C is excreted?
Because vitamin C is water-soluble, the body cannot store excess vitamin C. This means that we need to regularly consume vitamin C through our diet or supplements. What the body does not use is excreted in the urine.
So if you consume a large amount of vitamin C at once - say, through a high-dose supplement - most of it will not be absorbed by the body, but will simply be excreted. While this makes an overdose unlikely, it also means that extremely high intakes are often useless.
Risks of excessive intake
Although overdose of vitamin C rarely causes serious health problems, high doses can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or nausea. In the long term, extremely high doses could also increase the risk of kidney stones. Therefore, pay attention not to the quantity, but to the quality. The bioavailability of calcium ascorbate, for example, is much higher than conventional vitamin C
The golden rule with vitamin C (as with most nutrients) is balance. It's important to get enough, but more isn't necessarily better. A balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables should help most people meet their vitamin C needs. However, it makes sense to take vitamin C to prevent colds or in stressful times.