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Vitamin C Dosage

Several factors help determine how much vitamin C you should take, including your age and sex. People who smoke and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may also require more vitamin C. Dosing recommendations can range between 15 mg (for young children) and 120 mg (for breastfeeding women). Many foods already contain the vitamin, but additional vitamin C is often added to foods and beverages.

An Introduction to Dosing With Vitamin C

The recommended vitamin C dose can vary, depending on several factors. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need higher doses, as do people who smoke.

Vitamin C Doses and Recommended Dietary Allowances

The Institute of Medicine has developed two different dosing guidelines for vitamin C, the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) and UL (tolerable upper limit). The RDA is the intake recommended for the average person, and the UL is the maximum that can be taken without significant side effects or toxicity. Refer to the following table for RDA and UL values for vitamin C:
Vitamin C RDA
Vitamin C UL
1-3 years
15 mg per day
400 mg per day
4-8 years
25 mg per day
650 mg per day
9-13 years
45 mg per day
1200 mg per day
14-18 years
65 mg per day
1800 mg per day
75 mg per day
19 years and older
75 mg per day
2000 mg per day
90 mg per day
Pregnant women
18 years and under
80 mg per day
1800 mg per day
19 years and older
85 mg per day
2000 mg per day
Breastfeeding women
18 years and under
115 mg per day
1800 mg per day
19 years and older
120 mg per day
2000 mg per day
For smokers, an additional 35 mg of vitamin C over the usual RDA is recommended.
Many people may be able to meet their RDA for vitamin C through food, since many foods naturally contain it. Also, additional vitamin C is often added to various foods and beverages. However, vitamin C content decreases when foods and beverages are cooked or stored. Frozen orange juice (the concentrated kind that is mixed with water) usually contains more active vitamin C than ready-to-drink orange juice. With time, the vitamin C in ready-to-drink orange juice oxidizes and becomes much more difficult to absorb.
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