More than 20 per cent of Australians in some population groups are considered Vitamin C deficient.

A study looking at Vitamin C levels in a group of people from southwestern Sydney found this to be the case.

Doctors at Westmead Hospital in Sydney are also detecting the resurgence of scurvy amongst some diabetic patients.

Low ascorbate (Vit C) is also common in critical care patients such as those on dialysis; amongst indigenous Australians, as well as amongst the elderly.

Almost every iron formulation contains Vitamin C and it is common knowledge that it enhances the bioavailability of iron which increases the absorption of dietary iron.

Ascorbate is less known for its vital role in ensuring maximum uptake of iron from transferrin, the iron transport protein, which is critical for maintaining optimal iron stores.

Some iron supplements can produce gastrointestinal disturbances such as constipation in some people due to the unabsorbed fraction of iron causing oxidative damage in the gut lumen. However, this is dependent on the form of iron consumed.

Iron sulfate for example has been shown to have a lower bioavailability than iron glycinate, bisglycinate or amino acid chelate forms.

Keeping the upper limit for iron supplementation at 45mg daily also reduces the chance of iron remaining in the gut lumen unabsorbed, thus reducing side effects.

Ensuring a higher ascorbate to iron ratio also leads to quenching of iron-derived free radicals, significantly reducing side effects.

Ensure your diet contains plenty of Vit C rich fruit such as citrus, berries, kiwifruit, guavas, and melons to boost your Vit C levels and to help maintain healthy iron stores.

Vit C rich foods