Senior Living Care Blog

The Importance of Vitamin C for Seniors

Posted by Jackson Bentley on May 14, 2018 8:00:00 AM


We often consider ourselves knowledgeable about the importance of Vitamin C in warding off sickness. It’s an important nutrient that we are all told can help us stay healthier and get through the flu and cold seasons, as well as infuse our immune system with power to assist us in fighting off the efforts of viruses and harmful bacteria. However, Vitamin C has even more beneficial uses.


The Health Benefits of Vitamin C


As you get older, your immune system will gradually become less effective. Getting the correct intake of Vitamin C as you age is vital for continued health and protecting all the cells in your body. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it attacks things that are harmful to your health. It also creates collagen, a vital component in creating skin and connective tissues for wound healing, as well as brain function and metabolizing.


Here’s what experts are saying about Vitamin C:


Benefits Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C may not be the cure for the common cold, but experts agree that it is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Vitamin C can help protect against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.

  • Promotes creation of white blood cells, which helps the immune system
  • Stabilizes the level of blood sugar in people with diabetes
  • Keeps the heart healthy by making sure blood vessels are dilated
  • Supports the production of collagen, which aids in wound care and healing
  • Can convert cholesterol into bile salts in the body, making it easier for the body to eliminate
  • Can relieve effects of chronic health conditions such as asthma, sinusitis, and arthritis.
  • Reduces outward signals of age by improving health of the skin
  • Lowers your risk for cataracts
  • Keeps the heart healthy by making sure blood vessels are dilated
  • Supports the production of collagen, which aids in wound care and healing


Risks Associated With Vitamin C Deficiency

Yourself or your senior loved one may have a deficiency in Vitamin C. Often times, we have lower levels than we realize if we are not vigilant about our intake. Some of the health conditions linked with Vitamin C deficiency include:

  • Easy Bruising
  • Frequent Cold
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Slow Healing
  • Gingivitis
  • Slowed Metabolism
  • Dry Hair
  • Weight Gain
  • Anemia
  • Nose Bleeds
  • Higher risk of dementia
  • Higher risk for certain forms of Cancer


How Much Vitamin C Do Seniors Need?

Scientists are divided about the exact number of Vitamin C that seniors need per day, but safe to say you’ll need to supplement your diet with at least a small dose of Vitamin C. The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends men over the age of 18 take 90 milligrams a day and women of the same age take 75 milligrams daily. Here’s a helpful table to reference for all ages:

However, this is merely the minimum recommended daily intake. For seniors who want to protect against adverse health conditions, higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health.


How to Increase Your Vitamin C Levels

Vegetables-Fruits and vegetables are a great way to increase Vitamin C levels.

For quick reference, here’s a list of all the naturally occurring ways you can get more Vitamin C in your diet. Because the body cannot store much of the vitamin, you shouldn’t worry about having too much Vitamin C. Experts agree that levels greater than 2,000 mg/day are probably the limit. Doses this high can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women. The good news is that there are many delicious fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C, such as:



  • Oranges, clementines, and mandarins
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
  • Kiwi, papaya, pineapple, and mango
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice



  • Broccoli, Brussels sprout, and cauliflower
  • Spinach, cabbage, romaine, and other leafy greens
  • Green and red peppers
  • Green peppers



  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Vitamin C fortified cereal


Dietary Supplements

Supplements typically contain vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, which has equivalent bio-availability to that of naturally occurring ascorbic acid in foods, such as orange juice and broccoli. Other forms of vitamin C supplements include:

  • sodium ascorbate
  • calcium ascorbate
  • other mineral ascorbates
  • ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids
  • Ester-C®
  • Emergen-C
  • Nature Made Vitamin C
  • Power C
  • Alive! Men’s Vitamin C Supplement
  • Nature’s Bounty


The majority of multivitamins on the market provide only 60 mg doses of vitamin C per pill, according to Dr. Jane Higdon, a research associate with the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Since this is under the recommended amount for adult women and adult men, women might need an extra 15 milligrams daily and men might require another 30 milligrams than what's found in a multivitamin.

Because Vitamin C is also protective against certain forms of cancer, it’s important for seniors to maintain their intake of Vitamin C. To reduce the risk of cancer for the elderly, there are a number of precautions that should be taken. Skin cancer is one of the most types of cancer and as such has a high rate of appearance in the elderly population, where years of exposure can leave people at higher risk towards the end of their life. However, research has shown that Vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of skin cancer.


Next Steps

We hope you enjoyed our list of tips for increasing Vitamin C for seniors. These tips apply to people of all ages, but for the susceptible population of seniors, these tips are of the utmost importance. Visit Landmark Senior Living to get more informational resources and find assisted living facility near you.


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Topics: Senior Health

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