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-An Orange versus Vitamin C Pill-

Vitamin C is a natural component of foods and is an essential micronutrient for humans as we cannot synthesize this vitamin, which is so important for proper growth and development. For example, vitamin C is instrumental in forming proteins such as collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen is a major component of our connective tissue and found in skin, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels providing strength and flexibility.

Vitamin C is also instrumental in wound healing, scar formation, aids in the absorption of iron, and acts as an antioxidant to block damage to our body tissues, among other functions.

So, as we can see vitamin C is an important vitamin for a healthy immune system and proper growth and maintenance of the body.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it does not get stored in the body for use later, it is used or excreted. So, vitamin C should regularly be consumed throughout the day to provide the body with this essential vitamin.

Two ways to consume vitamin C throughout the day would be to eat foods that contain vitamin C or to take vitamin C in supplement form, or a pill.

So, does it matter which way you get your vitamin C throughout the day, let’s take a look…

An Orange

When we eat an orange (citrus fruit) we are consuming a whole food that has many parts, and each of these parts conveys a benefit on their own, as well as together synergistically.

An orange contains hundreds of chemical compounds such as proteins, essential oils, sugars, vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber. An orange also contains essential elements such as water, carbon, nitrogen, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, iron, and others that work on their own as well as with each other in synergy.

One medium orange contains about 130% of the daily value of vitamin C for adults, according to the USFDA.

This vitamin C conveys protection as an antioxidant against free radical damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin C also helps protect the skin, as it is instrumental in collagen production that supports the strength and flexibility that reduces wrinkling and improves the skins overall texture, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Further, diets rich in vitamin C are associated with a reduced incidence of stomach cancer as it has been shown to protect against stomach cell degeneration.

Additionally, the dietary fiber content of the orange has been associated with lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased HDL (good) cholesterol. Dietary fiber is also associated with improved digestive function and weight loss.

The potassium in the orange is essential for normal water and acid-base balance and is important in regulating neuromuscular activity in the body. Adequate potassium is required for muscle formation, and as an electrolyte potassium regulates the heartbeat.

As a source of vitamin A, oranges assist in improving night vision. Vitamin A is also essential for normal growth, development, and maintenance of the skin and epithelial tissue that lines body cavities and major organs such as the heart and lungs.

Oranges are approximately 87% water, which hydrates the body.

The International Weekly Journal of Science Nature published an article in 2007 that indicated that consuming fruit was better than simply consuming vitamin C as the vitamin C was believed to possibly work synergistically with other chemical compounds, such as flavanones and carotenoids, to exert antioxidant protection.

The intake of vitamin C through food sources is a risk-free strategy that is well supported in the literature, according to a response from Rock of the University of California, San Diego.

According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) consuming five varied servings of fruits and vegetables each day provides more than 200 mg of vitamin C.

Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe. It’s important to remember that the vitamin C content of foods will be reduced by heat and storage, so it’s best to eat your fruits and vegetables raw and fresh to obtain the most vitamin C they have to offer.

A Vitamin C Pill

Ascorbic acid is the reduced form of vitamin C, synthetically made and available in supplement form.

Some research states that synthetic ascorbic acid has a varied chemical form from dietary (food) sources and that the synthetic version can drive free radical generation from stored iron creating a potentially harmful situation for individuals with certain conditions and when taken daily is able to damage macrophages (white blood cells).

Others say to prevent deficiency in certain situations such as pregnancy, lactation, cancer, in smokers and the elderly, synthetic ascorbic acid in the form of tablets, capsules, crystalline powder, or liquid may be necessary.

Meta-studies showed better protection with dietary vitamin C when contrasted with synthetic vitamin C in vitamin C’s role in protecting against coronary heart disease.

The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin C is 2000 mg daily, and the Linus Pauling Institute recommends 400 mg daily of vitamin C for healthy adults, supplementing in two separate 250 mg doses, morning and evening.


We have learned the importance of vitamin C as it plays an instrumental role in proper growth, development, and maintenance of the body and immune function.

Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet will provide this essential vitamin along with other necessary nutrients.

Food is the best source to consume vitamin C safely. However, food levels of vitamin C will vary due to the soil they grow in and the exposure of the food to water, air, heat or light.

For adequate dietary levels of vitamin C include mostly plant-based, whole foods with a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, throughout the day, to consume the necessary levels of this important vitamin.

Act 27:34 “Therefore I urge you to take some food…for it will give you strength…”

References Mahan, L., Escott-Stump, S. & Raymond, J. (2012). Krause’s food and the nutrition care process (13th ed.). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier. McGuire, M. & Beerman, K. (2011). Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage. Cesar, T., Aptekmann, N., Araujo, M., Vinagre, C., Maranhao, R. (2010). Orange juice decreases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic subjects and improves lipid transfer to high-density lipoprotein in normal and hypercholesterolemic subjects. Nutrition Research. (10): 689-94. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.09.006 Rutkowski, R., Rutkowski, K., Rutkowska-Talipska, J., Sowa, P., & Sulkowski, S. (2012). Vitamin C: Is it time to re-evaluate its role in health and disease? Postepy Dermatologii i Alergologii, 29(6), 456. doi: Michels, A. J., & Frei, B. (2013). Myths, Artifacts, and Fatal Flaws: Identifying Limitations and Opportunities in Vitamin C Research. Nutrients, 5(12), 5161–5192. Herbert, V. (1997). Letters to the editors. American Dietetic Association.Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 97(4), 375-6. Retrieved from Aditi, A., & Graham, D. Y. (2012). Vitamin C, gastritis, and gastric disease: A historical review and update. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 57(10), 2504-15. doi: Velena, A., Zarkovic, N., Koraljka, G. T., Bisenieks, E., Krauze, A., Poikans, J., & Duburs, G. (2016). 1,4-dihydropyridine derivatives: Dihydronicotinamide analogues-model compounds targeting oxidative stress. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, doi:

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