We can’t help but be on the backfoot with this one, as our evolution is kind of to blame. Due to some random genetic mutation that occurred en route to the magnificent species you see today, humans, unlike most animals, do not synthesise Vitamin C. That’s why it’s often called an ‘essential vitamin’. Your body can’t produce it, so you need to get it from your diet.
And yes, it’s really important that you do.
Vitamin C is vital for supporting the immune system by protecting cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals – as well as the formation of collagen for skin, cartilage, and bone. That’s why it’s an important nutrient for the healing process, as well as helping with the function of blood vessels and our neurological system. Studies have also shown that people with higher levels of Vitamin C display fewer signs of both mental and physical stress when experiencing psychological challenges – and they recover from these stresses more quickly than people with lower vitamin C levels too!
Right now, the World Health Organisation recommends taking 45mg/day – but scientists have been scratching their heads at the feasibility of this figure. Many studies reckon our daily dose should be double that amount, but with the RI set at 80mg, it’s still too low. Add to that the fact the levels we absorb in our diets can be massively affected by cooking and processing, as well as the quality of soil that produces its source and you can C why we care.