Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
soluble vitamin plays a role in many important bodily
functions. Since it is water soluble, whatever the body does not use is
constantly being passed out of the body via the urine. While
there are no known problems associated with an over-abundance of
Vitamin C, other than possibly constipation,
it is still a good idea to stick within recommended daily allowances.
Probably the most important function Vitamin C
performs is as an antioxidant.
Oxidants are free
radicals that if not controlled can significantly damage
cells. Much in the same way that rust breaks down a car's exterior, so
too can free radicals damage the skin and other body parts.
Vitamin C is crucial to the body's ability to produce collagen, which is
an important protein that keeps skin damage minimal. Collagen can delay
the development of wrinkles and saggy skin by helping skin hold onto
Vitamin C also expedites the body's ability to repair tissues so wounds and other injuries heal more quickly.
Vitamin C is necessary for the process involved with metabolizing folic
acid, iron, tyrosine
The body also cannot properly make use of carbohydrates without Vitamin
C, and it is also needed to synthesize fats and proteins.
Vitamin C can also help a person recover from the effects of a cold
more quickly. However, unlike what many people believe, this it cannot
actually "prevent" a cold from developing, but it can alleviate the
symptoms and perhaps accelerate the passing of a cold. It accomplishes
the task of helping the body deal with a cold by increasing the
production of white blood cells and antibodies.
Vitamin C can also strengthen artery walls and make them better able to
resist the development of plaque build-up. It helps with the bone
marrow's ability to produce red
blood cells and hemoglobin.
And Vitamin C helps keep the nervous system healthy.
Studies investigating Vitamin C's ability to slow down and possibly
even prevent the formation of cataracts are ongoing and show promising
Fruits contain plenty of vitamin C, especially citrus fruits such as
oranges, tangerines, and limes, as well as, guava, lemons, papayas,
strawberries, black currants, grapefruit and mangoes. Many vegetables
also contain Vitamin C including collard greens, sweet and hot peppers,
broccoli, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, kale, spinach,
and watercress. To preserve more of the Vitamin C content and make them
more effective, it is best to eat these fruits and vegetables
raw or only slightly cooked. Be aware, however, that steam, and exposure to light break down this vitamin.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin C is 60 mg per day for adults.
Symptoms of a Vitamin C Deficiency
The most well know condition associated with a Vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, a condition
that used to be common among sailors who spent long periods at sea.
Early symptoms of scurvy affect the mouth area including gums that
bleed and teeth that become loose. As it progresses, muscles become
weak and joints become painful.
Other signs that the body may be experiencing a deficiency of Vitamin C
can include frequent infections, prolonged colds, easily bruised body
parts, painful and/or swollen joints, nose bleeds, and anemia symptoms
including tiredness and loss of skin color.