What is Vitamin C?
Lately, people are looking for vitamin C as an action to prevent contracting the virus that causes Covid-19. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin which is also known as ascorbic acid. In reptiles, birds, and some mammals, vitamin C can be synthesized from glucose in the body with the help of the enzyme gluconolactone oxidase. However, humans do not have this enzyme, so humans need to consume vitamin C from food in order not to experience a deficiency/deficiency of vitamin C.
Levels of Vitamin C Needed in a Day:
Age Group Vitamin C Levels (mg)
- Infant / Child –
0-5 months *40
6-11 months 50
1-3 years 40
4-6 years 45
7-9 years 45
10-12 years 50
13-15 years 75
16-18 years 90
19-29 years 90
30-49 years 90
50-64 years 90
65-80 years 90
80+ years 90
10-12 years 50
13-15 years 65
16-18 years 75
19-29 years 75
30-49 years 75
50-64 years 75
65-80 years 75
80+ years 75
Pregnant (+ an)
Trimester 1 +10
Trimester 2 +10
Trimester 3 +10
Breastfeeding (+ an)
First 6 months +45
Second 6 months +45
* Fulfilment of the nutritional needs of infants 0-5 months comes exclusively from breastfeeding
Source of the table: Regulation of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia Number 28 of 2019 concerning Recommended Nutritional Adequacy Rates for Indonesian People
However, the vitamin C levels mentioned above do not apply to some people. People who smoke need an additional 35 mg of vitamin C because free radicals in cigarette smoke can have an adverse effect on the body so that more vitamin C is needed to repair the damaged parts of the body. Vitamin C is also needed for people who suffer from severe malabsorption (digestive tract disorders in absorbing nutrients from food), some types of cancer, and kidney disease that requires hemodialysis/dialysis.
Source of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits (49 mg), pineapple (22 mg), guava (87 mg), cherries, lemons (50 mg), strawberries (90 mg), kiwi (75 mg). ), papaya (78 mg) as well as cauliflower (69 mg), broccoli (30-40 mg), green and red peppers, tomatoes (34 mg), cabbage, mustard greens (102 mg), peas, and potatoes.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is said to increase immunity through its function as an antioxidant. When viruses and bacteria enter the body, many free radicals are formed which can affect the immune system. Free radicals are molecules that lose one electron from their lone pair. Free radicals will seek other electrons from body cells which in turn can cause damage to body cells, including immune cells. Through its function as an antioxidant, vitamin C prevents the damage that occurs by donating electrons to these free radicals. Apart from being an antioxidant, vitamin C can also synthesize collagen, a protein that can heal wounds on the skin so that it can prevent pathogens from entering the body and causing infection. In addition, vitamin C also helps the absorption of iron so that it can prevent anaemia.
Impact of Vitamin C Deficiency
Vitamin C deficiency causes a skin disease called scurvy which causes fatigue, gingivitis, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, bleeding gums and tooth loss.
The Impact of Excess Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin so that excess vitamin C in the body will be excreted in the urine. However, according to the Ministry of Health (2017), consuming vitamin C in excess of 2000 mg per day can cause diarrhea, vomiting, kidney stone disease, skin disorders, the risk of diabetes, and disrupt cancer treatment.
Contributor: Muthia Syifa Rahmadina 4th semester student of Bachelor of Nutrition, FKM UI
FAO, 2001. Human Vitamin and Mineral Requirements. [Online] Available at: http://www.fao.org/3/y2809e/y2809e00.pdf [Accessed 9 April 2020].
Kementerian Kesehatan, 2017. Awas! Overdosis Vitamin C. [Online] Available at: http://promkes.kemkes.go.id/?p=7949 [Accessed 9 April 2020].
Kementerian Kesehatan, 2018. Data Komposisi Pangan Indonesia. [Online] Available at: http://www.panganku.org/id-ID/view [Accessed 9 April 2020].
National Institutes of Health, 2019. Vitamin C Fact Sheet for Consumers. [Online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/pdf/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer.pdf [Accessed 9 April 2020].
Peraturan Menteri Kesehatan Republik Indonesia Nomor 28 Tahun 2019 Tentang Angka Kecukupan Gizi yang Dianjurkan untuk Masyarakat Indonesia
Siswanto, B. d. F. E., 2013. PERAN BEBERAPA ZAT GIZI MIKRO DALAM SISTEM IMUNITAS. Gizi Indon, 36(1), pp. 57-64 .
Smith, S. S. G. d. J. L., 2013. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. 6 ed. USA: Cengage Learning.