Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, antioxidant and essential co-factor for collagen biosynthesis, carnitine and catecholamine metabolism, and dietary iron absorption. Humans are unable to synthesize vitamin C, so it is strictly obtained through the dietary intake of fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C. Although most vitamin C is completely absorbed in the small intestine, the percentage of absorbed vitamin C decreases as intraluminal concentrations increase. Proline residues on procollagen require vitamin C for hydroxylation, making it necessary for the triple-helix formation of mature collagen.
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also thought to boost immunity and fight a number of diseases. As a water-soluble vitamin, it is quickly lost from your body, so a daily intake is vital.
How does it work?
Vitamin C is involved in a large number of biological processes, which is why it is essential for health. It is used to make collagen, the protein that makes the skin, joints and bones strong. Vitamin C speeds up wound healing, helps to form red blood cells and prevent bleeding. Your body’s immune system relies on vitamin C to keep the disease-fighting white blood cells active. Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb iron and folic acid (vitamin B9) effectively and turn food into energy.
Aches and pains
Frequent colds and infections
Red pimples on skin
Colds and flu – vitamin C reduces the duration of colds and other viral infections by killing viruses and mopping the inflammatory chemicals produced during infection. It also boosts immunity and resistance.
Hay fever- As a natural antihistamine, vitamin C helps to reduce the effects of pollen allergy.
Skin care- vitamin C protects against skin damage and reduces the effect of sunburn by neutralizing free radicals and producing collagen.
Fertility- vitamin C is considered essential for sperm health, improving the quality, quantity and mobility of normal sperm. It is also thought to protect genetic material because of its antioxidant qualities.
Wound healing – increasing vitamin C intake helps to speed up the healing process after operations.
Eyesight – As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects the eyes from free radical attack, which clouds the lens, and is thought to be particularly important in preventing the development of age-related cataracts.
Osteoporosis – vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, which is vital for healthy bones.
In addition, there is considerable evidence that vitamin C protects against respiratory tract infections and reduces risk for cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Megadoses of vitamin C can have a laxative effect, and some people find large doses too acidic.
Food sources of vitamin C
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day.
You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet.