Vitamin C might be one of the most beloved vitamins on the immune boosting bandwagon. We stock our refrigerators with O.J., our pantries with C-powered breakfast bars, and our medicine cabinets with little packets of orange fizzing powder. But what, exactly, is all this diligence doing for us? Will it stop the sniffles, reverse wrinkles, cure the incurable? Why all the hype? If there’s anything we know about celebrity, it’s that things are not often what they seem. So – in the interest of hitching our wagons to a star, instead of say, a moon rock – here’s a look at some of the common myths about what vitamin C is, and what it isn’t.
Myth #1 : Eat ALL the oranges.
Who knows where this particular legend comes from, but for whatever reason when you hear the words vitamin C, I’m betting you see an orange. The reality is, there are a dozen other fruits and vegetables higher in vitamin C than your average orange. Not that oranges aren’t lovely. They are. But chili peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, papaya, kiwi, pineapple, and even strawberries outrank that little orange ball serving as the unofficial mascot of vitamin C. So maybe eat some oranges, just not ALL oranges.
Myth #2 : The more, the better.
Studies have concluded that no matter how much vitamin C you consume, your tissues can’t use more than 200 milligrams a day. This is double the recommended daily dose (60-75 mg for adults), but that’s where your body draws the line. Anything more will just be flushed out at the end of the day. So, unlike cans of baked beans and tomato soup, (which are, obviously, two of the top ten items everyone should be stockpiling for the zombie apocalypse), this essential little nutrient, can’t be stored.
Myth #3: Vitamin C is a cold prevention champ.
Vitamin C doesn’t actually have the ability to block the common cold. Several clinical studies have determined no significant difference in the incidence of cold, regardless of whether or not subjects consumed the recommended daily dose. But don’t toss it out of the ring just yet. Research has suggested that it can potentially help with the severity and duration of a cold once you catch it. And even beyond that it’s an important vitamin for growth and development, it helps your body absorb iron, and it’s a powerful antioxidant. Also, if you’re a pirate, and it’s the 17th century, you can take it to help with scurvy.