Sailors and scurvy? Indeed. Read on for some interesting facts and useful information on the world's most searched nutrient.

Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient which plays roles in immune system health, cell function, wound healing and helps maintain healthy bones. Great sources include oranges and peppers amongst other foods. Check out the facts below.


  • In 1747, James Lind conducted a trial of six different treatments for 12 sailors with scurvy. They found that only oranges and lemons were effective in treating them. Science.

  • Health benefits range from promoting wound healing mechanisms to supporting iron absorption.

  • It was first isolated by Albert Szent-Györgyi in 1928.

  • Vitamin C can’t actually be stored in your body, so you need it in your diet every single day.

  • It’s also known as ascorbic acid.

  • It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps to neutralise free radicals.

  • Taking too much Vitamin C can lead to stomach pain and flatulence.

  • It’s needed to form collagen, which is vital for the growth and repair of connective tissues. These include bones, cartilage and tendons. Naturally, collagen levels decline with age so supplementing with Vitamin C can help maintain levels.

  • Smokers and the elderly are most at risk of having a Vitamin C deficiency.

  • A study in 2017 discovered that adults with higher levels of Vitamin C correlated with better markers of metabolic health, lower body weight and better cognitive function.


What happens if you don’t have enough? Symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include joint pain, bruising, dry skin, aches and pains, lethargy and dry skin. This can be avoided by having a varied and balanced diet including fruits and vegetables.

Adults need about 40mg a day so one large orange should do the trick. Other good sources include peppers, blackcurrants, strawberries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts - if you are that way inclined.

Struggling to eat sprouts every day? Here’s a more convenient way for you to get your fix.


Dr Alexander, MB ChB, BSc (Hons) - Senior Writer


December 06, 2021 — Dr Zobir Alexander