Everything you need to know about Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that it is dissolved in the water in the body and then delivered to the tissues. This vitamin is found naturally in fruits and vegetables that you can buy from the supermarket and is essential for our body's functioning. For example, Vitamin C is found frequently in citrus fruits. You will probably find that you ingest quite a great deal of Vitamin C already and you don't even know it! For those that do not ingest enough, this vitamin can also be prescribed in dietary supplements.
Besides forming and maintaining bones, skin cells are also reliant on this vitamin to keep healthy. Vitamin C is also an essential vitamin for the production of important enzymes and collagen in the body. It helps in tissue repair and wound healing. In addition, it acts as a good antioxidant. Vitamin C also includes L-ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate. Vitamin C have no storage in the liver, therefore, daily consumption is necessary to satisfy the needs of the human body. This article will discuss everything you need to know about Vitamin C.
What are the different sources of Vitamin C?
Fruits and vegetables are the chief sources of Vitamin C. Our bodies cannot produce Vitamin C by themselves. Therefore, we need to outsource it from food.
Fruits that contain Vitamin C include:
Vegetables that contain Vitamin C include:
Vitamin C is also available in all dietary supplements. Supplements content ranges from 30mg to 2000mg per supplement. You can access these supplements from your local pharmacy.
The daily recommended dose of Vitamin C is 95 mg for young adult men and 85mg for women. As it does not store in the body for a long time, daily intake of this vitamin is necessary.
Vitamin C's normal reference range is between 0.5 and 1.8mg/dl in the blood. Concentration below this level can cause a deficiency of Vitamin C, which leads to several health problems.
For more on dosage recommendations go to the NHS website.
Storage and absorption
Vitamin C is transported through a sodium-Vitamin C pump to the blood circulatory system from the intestine. After absorption, the blood carries the vitamin to the targeted tissue to meet its needs.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can only be stored in the body for a limited period. Therefore, vitamin needs to be taken daily.
What role does Vitamin C play in our body?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for our body. Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) have kept Vitamin C on the list of most essential medicines. Below are some of its functions.
The metabolism of food produces free radicals as a by-product in our body. These free radicals disturb the mitosis process of the cell and produce irregular cells.
Irregular cells are the leading cause of cancer. Therefore, Vitamin C inhibits the oxidation reaction and reduces free radicals production.
Vitamin C is the primary nutrient for the production and preservation of Collagen fibres. It also plays a critical role in repairing damaged fibres.
Vitamin C activates white blood cells, which fight infection, and carry them to the site of infection. White blood cells are required at the site of infection to kill the microbes.
Other functions include:
Hormones and minerals regulation
Maintain boon density
Signs and symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency
Early signs and symptoms of a Vitamin C deficiency are not specific. However, most cases include fatigue and muscle weakness. In advance stages, the clinical features are:
Scurvy is a disorder caused by Vitamin C deficiency. The clinical manifestations of scurvy include delayed wound healing, bleeding gums, bruises on the skin, malaise, and weakness. In the late stages of the disease, the patient may develop oedema and brain haemorrhage, which leads to death.
The diagnosis can be made on the clinical features and can be confirmed through a test showing low serum Vitamin C levels below 0.1 mg/ dl.
Ascorbic acid is prescribed for the treatment of scurvy. The recovery of the patient occurs within 5 to 10 days. After recovering from scurvy, the patient is advised to include Vitamin C in his daily diet.
Vitamin C mobilises the neutrophil cells in the body. Neutrophil cells remove the invading microbes from the site of infection.
In the case of a Vitamin C deficiency, the activity of the neutrophil cells is impaired, and frequent infections occur.
Vitamin C regulates the mitosis process and helps in the formation of regular cells. The deficiency can, therefore, result in the production of irregular cells. These irregular cells are the causes of cancer.
Vitamin C decreases the risk of stroke, MI, angina, and heart mortality rate.
Impaired brain function
Low Vitamin C is associated with brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
Causes of Vitamin C deficiency
A Vitamin C deficiency is caused due to inadequate dietary intake. Apart from inadequate intake; chronic alcoholism, smoking, chronic diseases, and cancer can also cause Vitamin C deficiency.
Treatment of Vitamin C deficiency
Vitamin C deficiencies can be treated with adequate dietary intake. Therefore, patients should include food with a rich source of Vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables in their diet.
Vitamin C can also be found in dietary supplements which people can take to meet the body's needs. Any complications that occur due to inadequate Vitamin c should be treated accordingly.
What happens when you take too much Vitamin C?
A higher than the recommended dose of Vitamin C can also cause health problems. It occurs most commonly when a larger dosage is taken on an empty stomach. A larger dosage can cause vomiting, gastric ulcer, headaches, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.
Some medical study states that excessive Vitamin C can increase the risk of oxalate kidney stones. It is a concern because oxalate is the by-product of Vitamin C metabolism. These by-products deposit in the lumen of the kidney and form oxalate kidney stones. However, there is no experimental support for this theory.
Treatment for Vitamin C toxicity
To rectify the taking of too much, Vitamin C is removed from the patient diet for treatment of toxicity.
Taking Vitamin C should be a part of your daily routine. After reviewing the above information you should know if you are consuming enough to keep your body healthy. If you are in doubt, it is recommended that you check with a health professional. However, if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables found to be rich in Vitamin C, you should be alright.
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