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Vitamin C Or Ascorbic Acid - Is This More Than Just A Cold Remedy?

Dec 8, 2007
Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid is one of the most commonly known vitamins. Being a water soluble vitamin, it needs to be constantly replenished because the excess that the body does not require is eliminated through the system via the urine. It participates in many vital bodily functions. One should consume Vitamin C is moderation even though there is no real danger if excess is present in the body.

Perhaps the most important function of Vitamin C is its antioxidant effect. Oxidants are free radicals that if left uncontrolled can damage cells significantly. For example, just like how rust can make a car's exterior disintegrate, similarly free radicals can damage skin and other body parts.

Ascorbic Acid is also very important for maintaining healthy skin. It helps in the production of collagen, an essential protein that prevents skin damage. Sufficient amounts of collagen can delay the development of wrinkles and prevent saggy skin by improving the skin's elasticity and texture. Vitamin C also helps to repair tissues so that wounds heal faster.

Vitamin C is essential for the proper metabolism of folic acid, tyrosine, iron and phenylalanine. Without Ascorbic Acid, the body will not be able to synthesize fats and proteins or properly utilize carbohydrates.

Vitamin C is also known to relieve the symptoms of a cold. It is able to do so by increasing the production of white blood cells and antibodies that fight against the cold producing germs. However, contradictory to popular belief, Vitamin C cannot prevent a cold from occurring but can only help alleviate the symptoms.

This essential vitamin also enables the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and hemoglobin and keeps the nervous system healthy. It is even responsible for strengthening the artery walls so that they are more resistant to fighting the build-up of plaque.

Recent scientific studies have also revealed positive results on the possibility of Vitamin C to slow down and perhaps even prevent the formation of cataracts.

Some excellent sources of vitamin C are fruits especially the citrus ones like Oranges, Limes, guavas, lemons, tangerines, grapefruit and mangoes. Most vegetables like potatoes,collard greens, sweet and hot peppers, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes and spinach also contain adequate amounts of Ascorbic Acid. These fruits and vegetables should ideally be consumed in their raw or uncut form so as to preserve the Vitamin C content. Exposure to light or steam tend to break down this vitamin so care should be taken during preparation.

Studies have indicated that the daily recommended dosage of Vitamin C for adults is 60 mg.

A Vitamin C deficiency leads to a condition known as Scurvy. Sailors who spend long periods of time at sea were more prone to suffering from scurvy. Symptoms generally include bleeding gums, a swollen mouth and teeth that become loose. As the condition worsens the muscles and joints tend to become weak and more painful.

Other indications that one might be suffering from a Vitamin C deficiency include frequent infections, easily bruised body parts, prolonged colds, painful or swollen joints and muscles, nose bleeds and anemia during which the skin loses its natural pallor and looks tired.
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