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Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants that can protect against damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, as well as toxic and polluting chemicals such as cigarette smoke. Free radicals can accumulate and contribute to the development of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
Vitamin C is not stored in the body (excess amounts are excreted), so overdose is not a problem. But it is still important not to exceed the maximum safety limit of 2,000 milligrams a day to avoid stomach upset and diarrhea.
Water-soluble vitamins must be continuously supplied in the diet to maintain healthy levels. Eat fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C, or cook with minimal water so as not to lose a part of the water-soluble vitamin in the cooking water.