Can the Body Store Vitamin C?
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.
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.