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An Orange a Day Probably WON'T Keep the Doctor Away

by Carly Neubert, BA, NC on September 01, 2016

Is an Orange Enough?

Did you know that you can get your total RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of Vitamin C by eating just one large orange or sweet red bell pepper? Doesn't that sound easy and super convenient? See, the RDA for Vitamin C is only 70 milligrams. But those 70 milligrams will only keep you from dying from scurvy. But what if you want to thrive and live at optimal energy levels? Then you probably need more Vitamin C than just 70 milligrams!

Your Body Needs More Than 70 Milligrams of Vitamin C!

Most animals actually make Vitamin C in their livers. But humans have evolved (or devolved) to the point that we don't make Vitamin C in our bodies. As humans, we actually have genetics and pathways to make it; we are just missing one key enzyme.

The Vitamin C Foundation recommends 3000 mg per day for maintenance of healthy adults and The Linus Pauling Institute advocates for 6000-18,000 milligrams per day. For illnesses and injury, both groups suggest 20,000 milligrams (20 grams) or more per day. It is pretty difficult and may even be impossible to get those doses from food sources.  

Vitamin C Daily Dosage Recommendations

But why would you want to take such high doses of Vitamin C? 

There are hundreds of good reasons to take Vitamin C and most of them are related to your immune system. Vitamin C mobilizes your immune cells to look for and destroy foreign attackers. You can think of Vitamin C as the general of an army of immune soldiers who are fighting the battle for your health. 

What Makes Vitamin C So Special?

Your body uses Vitamin C to make collagen, carnitine, and catecholamines. 

Collagen is crucial for maintaining strong joints, beautiful skin, and healthy intestines. Carnitine allows your body to turn fat into energy. And catecholamines are a group of hormones that help you adapt to stress. Adrenaline is the most recognized hormone in that group. We have all experienced an adrenaline high. You wouldn't be able to experience that burst of energy and clarity when you are in a stressful situation without Vitamin C. 

Signs of Vitamin C deficiency are dry, brittle hair and skin, frequent illnesses, bruising, bleeding or swollen gums, and scurvy.  

There are many forms of Vitamin C that are available in supplements. Ascorbic acid is the form of Vitamin C that is found in foods and has the most medical research associated with it. Oranges, red bell peppers, and kiwi fruit are the top sources of Vitamin C from food.

Oranges, Red Bell Peppers, Kiwi

Vitamin C is classified as a vitamin, but it goes above and beyond what other vitamins do. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are molecules that have an extra electron. This extra electron can be donated to other molecules that are missing an electron. Molecules that are missing electrons are called "free radicals" and they are definitely radical! These guys bump around against other molecules in search of an extra electron. They will actually steal an electron from a molecule, thus turning it into another free radical.

This process causes a chain reaction where free radicals are stealing electrons and causing "free radical damage" to molecules and eventually to tissues in your body. But when you have a high level of antioxidants (like Vitamin C) in your body, the process is halted. The Vitamin C molecule can donate an electron and satisfy the free radical molecules that are looking for an electron.  

Can You Have Too Much of It? Not Really!

Vitamin C is water soluble so there is no risk of toxicity. It also means that your body doesn't store Vitamin C for later. If you take too much at one dose, you will get loose stool (diarrhea). That is why it is important to take multiple doses per day.  To find your optimal daily dose of Vitamin C you can schedule a consult with me

The most effective way to take multiple doses per day is powdered Vitamin C drinks. You have probably seen these powdered packets in your pharmacy or even at the grocery store. This is a great idea, however, most of them are loaded with sugar or fructose. Neither sugar nor fructose are going to strengthen your immune system, so it is best to avoid them at all costs. Taking straight powdered Vitamin C isn't very tasty and is very off-putting. So I recommend a sugar-free powdered Vitamin C drink. 

I haven't tasted any powdered Vitamin C drink mix that tastes better than Sufficient C. And of course it doesn't have any added sugar. It is naturally sweetened with stevia---which by the way, is an immune enhancer also. Sufficient C also has bromelain, lysine, and green tea extract.  

Find Sufficient-C drink mix here


Vitamin C is a necessary foundation to any natural home pharmacy. Take a maintenance dose of 3000 mg of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for everyday health. Keep a supply on hand for when you need to bolster your immune cells with higher doses. 

For additional recipes, biohacking tips and lifestyle hacks -- check out my other blog on my coaching site www.cleancoachcarly.com! I post weekly about nutrition and lifestyle topics, all backed by science. Happy Reading!