Many people know that vitamin C is an important element in our daily meals, few appear to look further than this.
Also referred to as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is water-soluble and happens to be destroyed quite easily. Many animals are able to manufacture their own vitamin C, humans aren’t and therefore require this vitamin in their diets.
This vitamin has numerous important functions in our bodies. Collagen, an important structural material found in our ligaments, bone and tendons, needs this vitamin to be present so as to allow reactions that create it. The neurotransmitter ‘norepinephrine’ similarly is produced with the aid of this vitamin. Fat transportation about our bodies to various organelles, like mitochondria, for subsequent energy release is only possible if small molecules of carnitine are present. These carnitine molecules are only able to be created in the presence of vitamin C. Recent studies have also found that this particular vitamin participates in our bodies conversion of cholesterol to bile acids, gallstones and high blood pressure therefore being affected to some degree.
Even if in tiny quantities this vitamin has been found to have strong anti-oxidant characteristics protecting us from free radicals and reactive species of oxygen, generated from everyday metabolism, or toxins/ pollutants taken in. Vitamin E (1) may possibly be able to get other anti-oxidants regenerated.
Deficiencies of this vitamin can lead to a range of unpleasant ailments. Scurvy remains the only disease that can be treated solely with the ingestion of vitamin C. Pinpoint hemorrhaging of blood vessels under the skin can result, alongside bruising easily, spongy and soft gums and teeth that become loose. Edema is another effect of sub-RDA levels of C vitamin intake. This is where the body starts to retain water, the affected person has a lack of energy, inadequate digestion, sore joints, colds and branchial infections.
Minimum levels of this vitamin should be around 60mg per day to prevent an occurrence of scurvy. 200-500mg of vitamin C should is thought to be more ideal for a normal healthy person, the risk of related ailments being far lower. Lactating or pregnant women are advised to take between 75-95mg each day.
In terms of toxicity, problems tend to be rare since this vitamin is water soluble and not stored in the body. Excess tends to be removed via a person’s urine. Hugely excessive quantities of C vitamin do cause problems, gastrointestinal complications (e.g. diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea) can become apparent. Immediate reductions in this vitamin’s consumption tend to work fast to alleviate the situation. In general people are able to intake quantities up to 25,000mg per day, there are always some though that aren’t able to tolerate levels of 600-1000mg a day.
Large C vitamin doses have been seen to promote renal stones through hemochromatosis or oxalate formation and other excessive iron consumption-related diseases.
Premature infants have been found susceptible to hemolytic anemia (a fragility of red blood cells) from too high quantities of C vitamin.
Aspirin and vitamin C have been blamed for stomach irritations.
What should increase the need for this particular C vitamin is strenuous exercise, trauma, infections, smoking or increased temperatures. Smokers tend to require an extra 100mg of vitamin C per day.
This vitamin has its structure readily assaulted by many environmental factors like heat, air, long storage durations, processing and overcooking. In our bodies this vitamin is lowered by us ingesting birth control pills, steroids, alcohol, antacids or antidepressants.
If you seek sources of food rich in C vitamin look no further than citrus fruits, berries, most green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, melons, guavas and papayas, to name but a few.