During the Covid-19 pandemic, the advice that everyone heard the most is ‘Eat more vitamin C-enriched foods." Anticipating that this vitamin will enhance the immune system, many people took this a whole lot.
Hot water with lime juice or lemon tea became a habit for many in recent times.
But do we know how far we can go with vitamin C? Are there any side effects of having excessive vitamin C?
We all know that vitamin C is destroyed in heat, thanks to the general science book in primary education. It begins to denature at a temperature as low as 30° Celsius, according to a study in the International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research.
The negative effects of heat increase significantly at 60° Celsius and vitamin C continues to deteriorate with further rise in temperature.
While the ideal serving temperature of tea is in between 50°- 60° Celsius, having lemon tea is not the ideal way if you are just looking for vitamin C, although you may enjoy the tangy taste and lime flavour.
However, if you want to get the benefits of vitamin C, it is better to add lemon juice just before drinking, after the tea has cooled down a bit; boiling the tea with slices of lemon is not recommended.
Ice Tea can also work as well. The same thing goes with hot lentil soup.
In the past one-and-a-half-years, many people started drinking lime water to boost their immunity. There are also vitamin C supplements, which many people are having like lozenges, for instance, Ceevit.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an academic medical center based in America, 90 milligrams of vitamin C a day is enough for men over the age of 19. For women it is 75 mg. Again, women need 85 to 120 mg of vitamin C a day during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
A study of urinary excretion of vitamin C (AA) demonstrates that 500 mg twice a day provides levels sufficient to cause continuous urinary excretion in humans.
Excess vitamins are excreted through the urine. However, taking more and more vitamin C reduces the body's ability to absorb vitamins.
The most common side effects of taking extra vitamin C are diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, inflammation in upper thorax, severe lower abdominal pain, headache, insomnia, etc.
So, refraining from taking overdose of vitamin C supplements is strictly advised. The daily requirement of vitamin C can be met from our daily diet.
Usually, we get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. However, vegetables often lose their nutritional value regarding vitamin C, when they are cooked for a long time, as excess heat breaks down the chemical structure of this vitamin.
So, it is better to have raw fruits and vegetables with vitamin C as much as possible.
Fresh vegetable salads and seasonal fruits help to meet not only vitamin C but also many other vitamins, minerals and fibre.