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ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C) (Systemic)
Some commonly used brand names are:
In the U.S.—
Generic name product may be available in the U.S. and Canada.
Vitamins (VYE-ta-mins) are compounds that you must have for growth and health. They are needed in small amounts only and are usually available in the foods that you eat. Ascorbic (a-SKOR-bik) acid, also known as vitamin C, is necessary for wound healing. It is needed for many functions in the body, including helping the body use carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Vitamin C also strengthens blood vessel walls.
Lack of vitamin C can lead to a condition called scurvy, which causes muscle weakness, swollen and bleeding gums, loss of teeth, and bleeding under the skin, as well as tiredness and depression. Wounds also do not heal easily. Your health care professional may treat scurvy by prescribing vitamin C for you.
Some conditions may increase your need for vitamin C. These include:
Also, the following groups of people may have a deficiency of vitamin C:
Increased need for vitamin C should be determined by your health care professional.
Vitamin C may be used for other conditions as determined by your health care professional.
Claims that vitamin C is effective for preventing senility and the common cold, and for treating asthma, some mental problems, cancer, hardening of the arteries, allergies, eye ulcers, blood clots, gum disease, and pressure sores have not been proven. Although vitamin C is being used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, there is not enough information to show that these uses are effective.
Injectable vitamin C is given by or under the supervision of a health care professional. Other forms of vitamin C are available without a prescription.
Vitamin C is available in the following dosage forms:
Importance of DietFor good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods. If you think that you are not getting enough vitamins and/or minerals in your diet, you may choose to take a dietary supplement.
Vitamin C is found in various foods, including citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit), green vegetables (peppers, broccoli, cabbage), tomatoes, and potatoes. It is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible since they contain the most vitamins. Food processing may destroy some of the vitamins. For example, exposure to air, drying, salting, or cooking (especially in copper pots), mincing of fresh vegetables, or mashing potatoes may reduce the amount of vitamin C in foods. Freezing does not usually cause loss of vitamin C unless foods are stored for a very long time.
Vitamins alone will not take the place of a good diet and will not provide energy. Your body also needs other substances found in food such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates, and fat. Vitamins themselves often cannot work without the presence of other foods.
The daily amount of vitamin C needed is defined in several different ways.
Normal daily recommended intakes for vitamin C are generally defined as follows:
Before Using This Dietary Supplement
If you are taking this dietary supplement without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For vitamin C, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your health care professional if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to ascorbic acid. Also, tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, sulfites or other preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—It is especially important that you are receiving enough vitamins when you become pregnant and that you continue to receive the right amount of vitamins throughout your pregnancy. Healthy fetal growth and development depend on a steady supply of nutrients from mother to fetus.
However, taking too much vitamin C daily throughout pregnancy may harm the fetus.
Breast-feeding—It is especially important that you receive the right amounts of vitamins so that your baby will also get the vitamins needed to grow properly. You should also check with your doctor if you are giving your baby an unfortified formula. In that case, the baby must get the vitamins needed some other way. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement while breast-feeding may be harmful to the mother and/or baby and should be avoided.
Children—Problems in children have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.
Older adults—Problems in older adults have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.
Medicines or other dietary supplements—Although certain medicines or dietary supplements should not be used together at all, in other cases they may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your health care professional may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other dietary supplement or any prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of vitamin C. Make sure you tell your health care professional if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Dietary Supplement
Dosing—The amount of vitamin C needed to meet normal daily recommended intakes will be different for different individuals. The following information includes only the average amounts of vitamin C.
For those individuals taking the oral liquid form of vitamin C:
Missed dose—If you miss taking a vitamin for one or more days there is no cause for concern, since it takes some time for your body to become seriously low in vitamins. However, if your health care professional has recommended that you take this vitamin, try to remember to take it as directed every day.
Storage—To store this dietary supplement:
Precautions While Using This Dietary Supplement
Vitamin C is not stored in the body. If you take more than you need, the extra vitamin C will pass into your urine. Very large doses may also interfere with tests for sugar in diabetics and with tests for blood in the stool.
Side Effects of This Dietary Supplement
Along with its needed effects, a dietary supplement may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur, they may need medical attention.
Check with your health care professional as soon as possible if the following side effect occurs:
Less common or rare—with high doses
Side or lower back pain
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the dietary supplement. However, check with your health care professional as soon as possible if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Less common or rare—with high doses
Diarrhea; dizziness or faintness (with the injection only); flushing or redness of skin; headache; increase in urination (mild); nausea or vomiting; stomach cramps
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some individuals. If you notice any other effects, check with your health care professional.
Once a medicine or dietary supplement has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, vitamin C is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:
Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for these uses.
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