What does it do?
Vitamin C cannot be synthesized by guinea pigs and humans. That’s why they need to consume it in their food. But other animals also benefit from some vitamin C in their food.
Why? It’s important to know what vitamin C does in the body: it it an important anti-oxidant. That means that it catches free radicals. This way, vitamin C enhances the immune system and it is very important in combatting deseases, inflammations and in handling stress. Moreover, it plays a rol in collagen synthesis and iron absorption. Especially young, old and weaker animals and animals that experience sress can benefit a lot from the supplementation of vitamine C!
It is almost impossible to overdose your animals with vitamin C, because it’s a water-soluble vitamin. A surplus will be secreted in the urine.
Vitamin C and shelf life
Vitamin C is sensitive to light and air. This means that dried products contain much less vitamin C than fresh products. Heating (cooking) also reduces the content. Therefore, preferably give fresh vegetables if you give it for this reason.
Vegetables with a high vitamin C-content
What can you give if you want to provide your animals with extra vitamin C?
Fresh rosehip (550mg / 100gr)
Bell pepper (150mg / 100gr)
Brussels sprouts (130mg / 100gr)
Parsley (125mg / 100gr)
Kale (120mg / 100gr)
Broccoli (110mg / 100gr)
Kiwi (90mg / 100gr)
Pointed cabbage (50mg / 100gr)
Spinach (50mg / 100gr)
Vitamin C and guinea pigs
An adult healthy guinea pig needs at least 25 mg of vitamin C per day, but more is always better. Pregnant, weak and young animals must receive at least twice as much. After all, it’s quite hard to overdose. In fact, a guinea pig that does not get vitamin C will have a shortage within a few days, with all kinds of consequences. They become more susceptible to diseases such as mange because their overall resistance is reduced. In case of prolonged shortages they can also become prone to more serious problems, such as teeth problems.
A good guinea pig food contains at least 1000 mg of vitamin C per kilo, which is preferably protected against external influences in order to extend the shelf life. But also provide fresh vegetables every day to ensure that they get enough fresh nutrients.