All About Vitamin C /
Is Your Vitamin C Made In China?
Did you know that four Chinese producers now supply the
majority of the global demand for Vitamin C (ascorbic
acid) additive? Here's how it looks: DSM, BASF and 4
Chinese producers are the major suppliers throughout the entire
One early May/2005 report on NutraIngredients.com about the
company DSM, formerly a major European supplier of Vitamin
C, indicated: "The bulk ascorbic acid plant at Belvidere in
New Jersey is expected to close in the third quarter, leading
to around 150 job cuts. DSM has already axed 200 jobs at its
Dalry plant in Scotland."
In fact, one of the biggest Chinese producers, North China
Pharmaceutical Co (NCPC), claims that around 80 per cent of its
20,000 tons of vitamin C currently goes to the European
And industry reports have indicated that both BASF and DSM
are entering into joint ventures with Chinese producers as a
means of competing more evenly in the marketplace.
How Is Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C is generally made in a two-step process,
beginning with a fermentation process followed by a chemical
conversion step. The key raw materials for the initial
fermentation process are glucose derivatives of crops like
wheat or corn, both of which have surged in price in recent
months owing to pressure on stocks. Another key cost for
Vitamin C production, energy, is also at record
What is Vitamin C and What are
the Health Benefits of Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble, antioxidant (immune
boosting) vitamin. It is important in forming collagen, a
protein that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle, and
blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron,
and helps maintain capillaries, bones, and teeth.
Scurvy is a deficiency disease caused by lack of vitamin C
(ascorbic acid). For early explorers in particular, scurvy was
a very real problem. Polar exploration (amongst other exploits)
resulted in scurvy as much as anything because it had been
relatively rare since 1803 when the Royal Navy introduced
citrus fruits, lemons and limes to combat it. By the end of
that century it was such a distant problem that those who
suffered from it in later days did not recognize the early
stages that their grandfathers would have spotted straight
The body stores enough vitamin C for about three months,
according to "Cool Antarctica".
What are Some Natural Sources
A "good source" of vitamin C contains a substantial
amount of vitamin C in relation to its calorie content and
contributes at least 10 percent of the U.S. Adequate Intake
(AI) for vitamin C in a selected serving size. The U.S. AI for
vitamin C is 90 milligrams per day for men and 75 milligrams
per day for women. The U.S. AI given is for adults ages 19–50,
and the recommended changes are for pregnant and/or lactating
women. Consult your healthcare provider for these differences.
The AI is also increased for smokers. Smoking increases
oxidative stress—as a result, it is recommended that smokers
consume 35 more milligrams of vitamin C per day.
|Good Sources of Vitamin
||Milligrams Vitamin C
||% AI for men
||% AI for women
|Red Bell Pepper
|Orange juice, from frozen concentrate
|Green bell pepper
|Strawberries 1/2 cup
|Potato, baked with skin
|Cabbage greens, frozen, boiled
It's important to note that the goji berry contains more
Vitamin C (by weight) than oranges.
Products that Normally
Vitamin C Additives
Some juices that are not normally a source of vitamin C
have vitamin C added. Examples of these juices include
apple and grape. A 3/4-cup (juice glass) serving of these
fortified juices may provide 40 percent or more of the U.S. AI
for vitamin C. Check the label for the exact amount. Vitamin C
(ascorbic acid) is added to frozen peaches to prevent
discoloration. Most ready-to-eat cereals are fortified with
vitamin C. Fortified ready-to-eat cereals usually contain at
least 25 percent of the U.S. AI for vitamin C. Because cereals
vary, check the label on the package for the percentage of the
U.S. AI for that cereal.
The amount of vitamin C in a serving depends on the weight
of the serving. For example, 1/2 cup of a cooked vegetable
contains more vitamin C than 1/2 cup of the same vegetable
served raw, because a serving of the cooked vegetable weighs
more. Therefore, the cooked vegetable may appear on the list,
while the raw form does not. The raw vegetable has vitamin C,
just not enough in a 1/2-cup serving to be considered a good
Preserving Vitamin C Content
In Natural Whole Food Sources
Vitamin C can be lost from foods during preparation,
cooking, or storage. To prevent loss of vitamin C:
- Serve fruits and vegetables raw whenever possible.
- Steam, boil, or simmer foods in a very small amount of
water, or microwave them for the shortest time
- Cook potatoes in their skins. Be sure to wash the dirt
off the outside of the potato.
- Refrigerate prepared juices and store them for no more
than two to three days.
- Store cut, raw fruits and vegetables in an airtight
container and refrigerate—do not soak or store in water.
Vitamin C will be dissolved in the water.
Sidenote: No single food can supply all nutrients in
the amounts you need. For example, oranges provide vitamin C
but no vitamin B12; cheese provides vitamin B12 but no vitamin
C. To obtain the nutrients and other substances needed for good
health, vary the foods you eat.
- Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet -
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- NutraIngredients.com Report - "DSM makes last stand
against Chinese vitamin C"
- Kids Health - Vitamins
- CoolAntartica.com - "Food in Antarctica - page 2"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -
Eat A Variety of Foods