Can the Body Store Vitamin C?

Author: Staff Writers

The body CANNOT store vitamin C. 

More Info: Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that any excess will be excreted from the body and will require daily supplementation.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. Other water-soluble vitamins include the B-complex vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, which are only soluble in fat and cannot be absorbed without the presence of lipids, water-soluble vitamins are, as the name suggests, soluble in water and can be absorbed without the presence of lipids. However, while excess fat-soluble vitamins collect in the liver and fatty tissues of the body for later use, excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted through urination. Because the body cannot store water-soluble vitamins, they must be consumed every day. Vitamin C is so important to good health that most mammals can actually manufacture it in their bodies, but humans lack this ability.


Mankind recognized the dangers of vitamin C deficiency long before vitamin C was ever isolated in a lab. Scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency, was long the scourge of sailors on prolonged voyages with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The British navy figured out that the symptoms of scurvy, which include fatigue, bruising easily, bleeding, tooth and hair loss, and joint pain and swelling, could be treated by feeding their crews citrus fruits. Limes happened to be plentiful in the British Caribbean islands, and the practice of dosing their crews with limejuice became so prevalent in the British navy that the term "Limey" came to be synonymous with British sailors.

Sources of Vitamin C

Thankfully, vitamin C is so plentiful in fruits and vegetables that it is not hard to consume enough every day to maintain health. Vitamin C-dense foods include citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and broccoli. Vitamin C is also an ingredient in almost all daily multivitamins and is available as a stand-alone supplement. Cooking does decrease the vitamin C contained in vegetables. Cooking tomatoes for just two minutes at 190.4 degrees Fahrenheit reduces their vitamin C content by 10 percent. Cooking them for 30 minutes reduces the content by 29 percent.


Works Cited

University of Maryland Medical Center
"Vitamin C - Overview"

Colorado State University Extension
"Water-Soluble Vitamins"

"Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Evidence"

Expert Opinion 

Quote: "Water-soluble vitamins are easily destroyed or washed out during food storage or preparation. Proper storage and preparation of food can minimize vitamin loss. To reduce vitamin loss, refrigerate fresh produce, keep milk and grains away from strong light, and use the cooking water from vegetables to prepare soups."

Source:  J. Anderson; L. Young; Water Soluble Vitamins
Colorado University Extension .

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"Can the Body Store Vitamin C?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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