The ordinary vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a vitamin needed for the synthesis of collagen, which is an important structure in the formation of bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels. Vitamin C also acts on the immune system and the central nervous system.
WHAT ARE VITAMINS?
By definition, vitamins are organic chemical compounds essential to life, which our bodies cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities, and it is necessary to obtain them through food. What is considered a vitamin for some species, may not be for others. Ascorbic acid, for example, is produced by the kidneys of reptiles and some birds, with no need to obtain it from the diet. Therefore, for these species, unlike humans, vitamin C is not considered a vitamin.
Of the 13 vitamins that humans need, only 2 are partially produced by our body: Vitamin D and Vitamin B7.
Our 13 vitamins are divided into water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fatty tissue so that the body can use them when needed. There are practically no losses of these vitamins, everything that is ingested and not used at the moment is stored for periods of scarcity. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.
Water-soluble vitamins, as the name implies, are diluted in water and are easily excreted in the urine. There is practically no storage of these in the body, and everything that is not used at the moment is eliminated. The water-soluble vitamins are the family of vitamin B and vitamin C.
Since vitamin C is water-soluble, its risk of severe toxicity from excessive consumption is low, since all excess is easily excreted in the urine. A very large daily consumption, usually above 2000 mg per day, is necessary for it to become toxic.
FUNCTIONS OF VITAMIN C
Vitamin C has a range of functions in the body, among the most important are the formation of collagen, which is a necessary substance for bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, skin and blood vessels. For this reason, adequate levels of ascorbic acid are necessary, for example, for proper wound healing.
1- Strengthens the immune system
Vitamin C supports the good functions of the immune system. It is therefore not surprising that many people use it to prevent a cold or to treat it. In addition, it strengthens the defence by helping to fight off many other bacterial and viral infections.
2- It is a powerful antioxidant
Vitamin C has many antioxidant properties and helps neutralize the action of free radicals by protecting the body from the damage they can cause. This helps to lengthen the lifespan of the cells, making them more resistant.
3- Contributes to the healing of wounds and fractures
By supporting the development of collagen production, vitamin C helps in the healing of wounds and fractures by acting as a healing agent. In addition, it supports the development and proper functioning of many structures in the human body such as bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, teeth, skin and other organs.
4- Maintains healthy blood vessels
Vitamin C promotes the dilation of blood vessels by preventing them from narrowing and keeping them healthy. In addition, it plays a fundamental role in protecting the heart, acting as an agent for the prevention of heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
5- Improves mood
Several studies show that there is a link between increasing the consumption of vitamin C and reducing mood disorders. This vitamin is known to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. In addition to influencing personal mood, vitamin C also supports correct brain functions.
6- Promotes weight loss
Consuming foods rich in vitamin C, as well as supplements containing vitamin C, can be of great help for those who wish to lose weight. It plays a fundamental role in controlling blood sugar levels and promotes the oxidation of fat during exercise. In fact, people with vitamin C deficiency have a harder time losing fat than those who take the correct amounts of this vitamin.
7- Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails
Vitamin C intake contributes to the development and repair of body tissues and has many benefits in terms of the beauty of hair, skin and nails! Vitamin C helps the elasticity of the skin, which means that it prevents the appearance of stretch marks, promotes hair growth and strengthening, and maintains the integrity of the nails.
8- Helps slow down the aging process
Its antioxidant properties and important role in the synthesis of collagen make vitamin C an important ingredient in the anti-aging process, often used in supplements and skincare products. Consuming vitamin C helps fight the damage caused by toxins in our daily life and slows the effects of free radicals in our body by slowing down the aging process of cells and preventing wrinkles and dryness of the skin.
DEFICIENCY OF VITAMIN C
Vitamin C deficiency is very rare today. When it is mild, it can result in great fatigue and loss of appetite. When the daily intake is less than 10 mg per day for 3 or 4 months, it can cause scurvy, an extremely serious disease which results in oedema, loosening of the teeth and haemorrhages leading to death without immediate treatment
Scurvy is the name of the disease resulting from vitamin C deficiency. As we can find vitamin C in a wide variety of foods, including some widely consumed, such as potatoes, tomatoes, onions and garlic, scurvy is currently an uncommon disease, being found only in people with an important degree of malnutrition.
Alcoholics and drug addicts are the most at-risk group in developed countries. In poor countries, malnourished children are the most affected.
Symptoms of scurvy are muscle pain, joint pain, tiredness, bruising on the skin (purple spots) and swelling and bleeding gums.
Scurvy is treated with vitamin C replacement.
FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN C
Ascorbic acid can be found naturally in various foods, in industrialized products that add vitamin C to its content, as in the case of some cereals or fruit juices, or through supplementation with tablets.
It is suggested daily consumption of about 90 mg of vitamin C for men and 75 mg for women. As smoking lowers vitamin C levels, smokers may need up to an extra 35 mg per day to make up for this loss. Pregnant women and the elderly need about 120 mg per day.
Among foods rich in vitamin C, we can mention some:
- Acerola - 100 grams has about 1067 mg.
- Guava - 100 grams has about 228 mg.
- Cashew - 100 grams has about 219 mg.
- Kiwi - 100 grams has about 93 mg.
- Strawberry - 100 grams has about 59 mg.
- Orange - 100 grams has about 53 mg.
- Lemon - 100 grams has about 53 mg.
- Pineapple - 100 grams has about 48 mg.
- Broccoli - 100 grams has about 89 mg.
- Pepper - 100 grams has about 80.4 mg.
- Cauliflower - 100 grams has about 48 mg.
- Watercress - 100 grams has about 43 mg.
- Garlic - 100 grams has about 31 mg.
- Spinach - 100 grams has about 28 mg.
- Potato - 100 grams has about 20 mg.
- Arugula - 100 grams has about 15 mg.
- Tomato - 100 grams has about 14 mg.
- Lettuce - 100 grams has about 9 mg.
- Onion - 100 grams has about 7 mg.
Vitamin C can also be found in the form of tablets, usually effervescent, with dosages ranging from 500 mg to 2000 mg per tablet.
There are many industrialized products that add vitamin C to your formula. In general, juices and cereals are sold in supermarkets. The problem is that these products tend to have large amounts of sugar, and the benefit of consuming vitamin C ends up being overshadowed by the harm of excessive sugar consumption.
INTOXICATION OF VITAMIN C
As vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, its excess is easily eliminated from the body by the kidneys. People who take vitamin C tablets daily eliminate most of this through their urine.
Doses up to 1.5 grams per day are not usually effective. Starting at 2 grams per day, the patient may experience cramps, diarrhoea and excess gas.
Individuals with a history of kidney stones should avoid excessive consumption of vitamin C, as it increases the risk of calcium oxalate stones.
Vitamin C deficiency causes a disease called scurvy, which is common in malnourished people or those who are severely restricted in vegetable consumption. Excessive consumption of vitamin C, usually due to the excessive use of vitamin supplements, can have toxic effects, causing diarrhoea, abdominal pain and kidney stones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Vitamin C and immune defence: Does Vitamin C strengthen the immune system?
You should know that our white blood cells contain more than 50 times more vitamin C than our blood plasma. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of antibodies. While knowing that the reserves of Vitamin C are exhausted very quickly during illness, infection or shock.
Does the human body produce vitamin C naturally?
No, the human body is not able to generate vitamin C.
Dextrorotatory or levorotatory vitamin C, which is really effective?
Vitamin C that can be assimilated by the body is L-Ascorbic acid as defined by the international standard CAS 50-81-7, ie DEXTROGYRE
What is the course of Vitamin C in the body?
Vitamin C is absorbed primarily from the small intestine and, in much smaller amounts, from the mouth and stomach; it is eliminated through urine.
Where is Vitamin C present in the body?
In the body, it is mainly present in the lens of the eye, white blood cells, pituitary gland, adrenal glands and the brain.
The vitamin C is water-soluble, that is to say, it is soluble in water. Although most mammals can synthesize it, the human body has lost the ability to do so during evolution. He must therefore draw it every day from food. The vitamin C is involved in hundreds of processes in the body. One of its main functions is to help the body make collagen, a protein essential for the formation of connective tissue in the skin, ligaments and bones.