Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Vitamin C

vitamin C
point

Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that is not made or stored in the human body so must be obtained through the diet on a daily basis. This essential nutrient is also known by other names- ascorbate and ascorbic acid.

Ascorbic acid is essential for the production of a protein called collagen. Collagen is used by the body for growth and connective tissue repair of blood vessels, intervertebral discs, tendons, ligaments, bone, cartilage, teeth, and skin. There are many other benefits of Vitamin C. As an antioxidant, this vitamin helps to prevent damage and oxidative stress caused by free radicals that attack cells in the body. Ascorbic acid is also important for the immune system, helping to reduce the severity and duration of some infections while promoting healing of damaged tissues. This nutrient has antihistamine properties- it means that this nutrient can help reduce allergic reaction of the body.

nutshell In a nutshell
nutshell Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen- most abundant protein in the body  and main component of connective tissue of blood vessels, intervertebral discs, tendons, ligaments, bone, cartilage, teeth, and skin.
nutshell Taking high doses over a long period of time may result in the development of scurvy in case high doses are stopped abruptly.
nutshell While citrus fruits are the most commonly known natural sources of this vitamin there are many other fruits and vegetables that contain much more of this nutrient.

Vitamin C deficiency

point

Vitamin C deficiency is not common in developed countries. Those with severe deficiency in this nutrient may suffer from a potentially fatal disease called scurvy. However, severe deficiencies are rare. Some other symptoms related to deficiency or low levels of this vitamin in the body may include the following:

• Bleeding gums and gingivitis;
• Dry, brittle hair;
• Dry, rough and scaly skin;
• Loss of hair and teeth;
• Frequent bruising;
• Slower healing;
• Nosebleeds.

Vitamin C overdose

point

Vitamin C overdose. A tolerable upper intake level, often referred to as UL, has been set for this nutrient at 2000 mg. per day. While overdose is unlikely from natural food sources, it is possible through the use of supplements. Overdose of this vitamin may result in gastrointestinal disturbances such as gas, nausea, and diarrhea. Kidney stones may also occur as a result of excess consumption of ascorbic acid. Taking high doses over a long period of time may result in the development of scurvy if the high doses are stopped abruptly. This is because the body attempts to release excess amounts of this vitamin through urine. When high vitamin dose is stopped, the body still releases the same amount until it can adjust to the new lower levels. It is possible that the body can release too much of this nutrient during this time and result in deficiency and related symptoms.

point

Daily Recommended Intake. The daily recommended intake for this nutrient varies by age group. Infants from 0 – 12 months need 40 – 50 mg every day. This requirement drops after the first year, with those ages 1 – 8 only needing from 15 – 25 mg a day. Children who are 9 – 13 years old should get 45 mg a day. Teenage girls need 65 mg a day while teenage boys need a bit more at 75 mg. Adult females should aim for 75 mg  while adult males need about 90 mg of this nutrient each day. Pregnant women should get 80 – 85 mg, and breastfeeding women should try to get 115 – 120 mg each day.

While citrus fruits are the most commonly known natural sources of this vitamin, there are many other fruits and vegetables that contain much more of this nutrient. Rich by vit. C sources include rose hips, papaya, broccoli, hot and bell peppers, pineapple, strawberries, and many other fruits and vegetables. Eating a healthy, balanced diet with a variety of fresh produce and meat products can insure adequate intake of this essential vitamin.

The following foods have high amounts of vitamin C:
• Rose Hips (100g) – 426 mg;
• Guavas (100g)- 228 mg;
• Litchis (dried) (100g) – 183 mg;
• Lemon peel (100g) -127 mg;
• Kale (100g) – 120 mg;
• Kiwifruit (100g) 105 mg;
• Broccoli (100g) – 89 mg;
• Papayas (100g) – 61 mg;
• Oranges (without peel) (100g) – 53mg;
• Lemons (without peel) (100g) – 53 mg;

Other important sources of Vitamin C:
• Peas, pumpkin, soybeans, peppers, turnip, potatoes;
• Pummelo, strawberries, pineapple, apricot, plums;
• Garlic, coriander, parsley, saffron, rosemary;
• Lamb, beef, pork, chicken liver;
• Fish.

Words “ascorbic acid” and “ascorbate” come from the term “antiscorbutic” …

point

In the first recorded controlled experiment in the history of science, in the year 1747, a surgeon of the Royal British Navy named James Lind discovered that a component in fresh fruits and vegetables prevented scurvy in sailors. The words “ascorbic acid” and “ascorbate” come from the term “antiscorbutic”, which was used in the 18th and 19th centuries to label foods that were known during that time to prevent scurvy. This vitamin was labeled as “C” in 1928 but was identified and synthesized in 1933 by Walter Norman Haworth.