14. Vitamin C Requirements

  • Primates are one of the few mammals that cannot synthesize ascorbic acid from glucose, a relatively recent mutation.
  • Daily requirement is likely on the order of 10 mg, RDA is 60 mg.
  • Total body pool is typically 1.5 to 3.0 grams. - symptoms begin at a pool size of 0.5 grams - severe disease occurs when pool size decreases below 0.1 grams
  • A deficient diet can result in symptoms within 1 to 3 months.
  • Symptoms improve after only a few days of high dose vitamin C therapy, typically 100 mg given 3-5 times/day.
  • Requirements for vitamin C increase during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, hyperthyroidism and in smokers (doubles).
  • Vitamin C is also required for the absorption of Fe and for the proper storage and utilization of folate.