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Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)


Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate) is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus and other fruits and vegetables. It is a potent reducing and antioxidant agent. Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function. It functions in fighting bacterial infections, in detoxifying reactions, and in the formation of collagen in fibrous tissue, teeth, bones, connective tissue, skin, and capillaries.  Most experts recommend getting vitamin C from the diet rather than taking supplements.

Vitamin C: History
The history of vitamin C ascorbic acid is very interesting and surprising. In the 18th century, British naval surgeon James Lind proved that the disease called scurvy was cured by taking the juice of lemons and oranges. In scurvy, bleeding occurs from the gums and from any part of the body even without injury. This disease occurs in long sea voyagers because they don’t get fresh food. They eat only fish, meat and bread.
In 1928, Albert Szent Gyorgyi, a scientist working in the Hopkins laboratory, isolated ascorbic acid from the suprarenal (endocrine) gland of the kidney. But he did not know that it has vitamin properties. In 1932 Vitamin C was isolated from lemon juice by Glenn King of Hopkins. Birmingham’s W.M. Haworth and E. L. Hirst not only discovered its chemical formula but also prepared it artificially.
Major Findings:

  • Vitamin C has white crystals and is easily soluble in water.
  • It is destroyed by heating, exposure, drying and storage.
  • Alkali also destroys Vitamin C.
  • Vitamin C in acidic fruits also survives longer in heat than vitamin C in alkaline fruits.
  • Vitamin C is destroyed in food within the first few minutes of cooking.
  • Vitamin C is absorbed into the blood from the small intestine.
  • Its quantity is not the same in different parts of the body.
  • It is most abundant in adrenal and pituitary tissues, brain, gallbladder, kidney, liver, spleen.
  • Vitamin C contains more in blood cells than blood.
  • Vitamin C is excreted through urine. If it is low in the body, it is absent or in small amounts in the urine.
  • If 3 grams of vitamin C is taken daily, the unabsorbed vitamin C is largely excreted in the feces and a small amount in the urine.

Vitamin C: Daily Need
(In milligrams)
Kids (1–3 years) 15 mg
Kids (4–8 years) 25 mg
Adolescents (9–13 years) 45 mg
Teens (14–18 years) 65-75 mg
Adult women (aged 19 and older) 75 mg
Adult men (aged 19 and older) 90 mg
Pregnant women (aged 19 and older) 85 mg
Breastfeeding women (aged 19 and older) 120 mg

Vitamin C: Funtions in Body
  • produces a substance called collagen. If this collagen is not produced, any wound takes time to heal
  • ascorbic acid helps in quick absorption of iron
  • gives the body freshness, lightness and increases endurance
  • gives the skin its freshness and radiance
  • keeps teeth and gums healthy
  • participates in the functioning of all the glands and organs in the body
  • heals wounds quickly
  • protects against physical and mental stress
  • protects the body from harmful substances in the environment, food, water and medicine

Vitamin C: Sources
  • mainly obtained from fruits and vegetables
  • lemons, oranges and papayas
  • less in underground vegetables, but high amount of potatoes in the diet
  • low in non-vegetarian foods, but fish has more
  • not present in pulses, but abundant in sprouted pulses
Vitamin C: Deficiency Symptoms
  • the gums become swollen and fragile
  • small blood vessels weaken
  • the collagen that binds the cells is destroyed
  • anemia occurs
  • wounds do not heal quickly
  • premature aging occurs
  • thyroid function slows down
  • the immunity to fight diseases decreases
  • suffering from side effects of drugs increases
  • people often suffer from simple things like lethargy, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain in muscles
  • a long-term deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy

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