The conversation around daily vitamin C intake can get a bit nuanced, but here’s the straightforward information: According to the National Academies, the daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women. Certain individuals—such as women who are pregnant (85 milligrams) and lactating (120 milligrams) women—require additional vitamin C each day. These are baseline daily minimums for vitamin C intake.
What does this mean in practice? Well, according to the USDA’s nutrient analyses of key food sources, a whole orange contains 68 milligrams of vitamin C, a whole kiwi contains 64 milligrams, and a whole grapefruit contains 78.6 milligrams.
So while you may consume a side dish of fruit or snack on something rich in vitamin C daily, you still might not meet the recommended dietary allowance, especially for those who have higher vitamin C needs.
“As a nation, our vitamin C gap is directly correlated with our low fruit and vegetable intake, so that’s a sad correlative that begs improvement, since 88% and 90% of American adults aren’t meeting daily fruit and vegetable recommendations, respectively,” explains nutrition scientist Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN.