Vitamin C, which is also referred to as ascorbic acid, is a vital nutrient for health. It helps form and maintains bones, skin and blood vessels. It occurs naturally in some foods, especially, fruit and vegetables. Supplements are also available.
Vitamins, including vit C are organic compounds. An organic compound is one that exists in living things and contains the element carbon and oxygen. Vitamin C is water soluble, and the body does not store it. In order to maintain adequate levels, humans need a daily intake of food that contains it. Vit C plays an important role in a number of bodily functions including the production of collagen, L-carnitine and some neurotransmitters, helps metabolize proteins and its antioxidant activity may reduce the risk of some cancers.
Collagen, which vitamin C helps produce, is the main component of connective tissue and the most abundant protein in mammals. Between 1 and 2 percent of muscle tissue is collagen. It is a vital compound in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments, skin, cornea cartilage, bones, the gut, and blood vessels. Scurvy results from vitamin C deficiency and its symptoms include swollen joints, bleeding gums and loose teeth, anemia and tiredness.
Adult males should consume 90 milligrams(mg) per day, according to the National Institutes of Health(NIH). During pregnancy and antenatal care, women should have 85mg a day, and 120mg while breastfeeding. The best source are fresh fruits and vegetables. Heat and cooking in water can destroy some of the content, so raw foods are the best.
What makes Vitamin C very important
Wound healing and infections
In 1982, researchers concluded that wounds, cuts, and bruises may heal faster in people with a higher intake of vitamin C than is usually available from their food. This may be because vitamin C contributes to collagen production. The roles of vitamin C as an antioxidant also helps repair tissue and reduce damage from inflammation and oxidation. People with adequate levels of vitamin C are thought to be better able to fight off infections compared to people with vitamin C deficiency.
Researchers have also found that vitamin C can kill drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in a laboratory culture. A study published in 2013 suggests that adding vit C to TB drugs could shorten therapy. Vit C may also help prevent acute respiratory infection, especially in people with malnutrition and those who are physically stressed.
May help in treating cancer as an antioxidant because it protects the body against oxidative stress and helps prevents the oxidation of other molecules. It appears to regenerate other antioxidants in the body too. Oxidation reactions produce free radicals and free radicals can start chain reactions that damage cells. High doses have been found to reduce the speed of growth of some types of cancerous tissue.
Improving Cardiovascular health
Vitamin C may widen the blood vessels, and this could help protect against heart disease and high blood pressure. Vit. C also helps to lower individuals cholesterol levels when it is present in its adequate levels.
Patients are less likely to experience deterioration of the kidneys, eyes and nerves if they eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vit C. It also enhances the absorption of iron which prevents and corrects anemia.
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