Vitamin C is found in lots of fruits and vegetables, and it’s so simple to get your daily recommended value. One orange or kiwi alone provides almost the entire daily requirement for most people! Yet many still have a mild deficiency. This can be simply explained: people just don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. The recommended amount is at least five servings, but nine is optimal. Be honest: did you eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables today?
A mild deficiency won’t cause any serious illnesses on its own, but it can affect your immune system. A person who gets more than enough Vitamin C will generally have a stronger immune system than somebody who only gets the bare minimum required to function.
Fortunately, we only need about 10 mg a day to avoid serious issues, and almost anybody in the western world gets at least that amount through the various fortified foods available on the market.
It wasn’t always so easy to get enough Vitamin C, though. One consequence of complete Vitamin C deficiency is well-known for its historical impact: scurvy. This is a disease that can be deadly if not treated; fortunately, it is completely reversible.
For centuries, scurvy was a common problem on long sea trips when fresh fruit was scarce; sailors eventually figured out that a quick remedy was to eat an orange or a lemon. The scurvy would disappear shortly thereafter. Of course, these men had no idea what exact substance healed the scurvy; they just knew that citrus fruit seemed to be a miracle cure. It was the Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that reversed the scurvy.
Indeed, Vitamin C is still a miracle cure today, responsible for keeping the immune system in tip-top shape. Luckily scurvy isn’t a common problem anymore, but in a different way, Vitamin C still has the reputation of miracle drug.