Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, which is essential for normal functioning of the body. Unlike most mammals, humans do not have the ability to make their own vitamin C. We must therefore obtain vitamin C through our diet and supplements.
It always interested biologists that humans are one of the few animal species that cannot make one of the most important nutrition elements in their bodies - ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. Somehow, our ancestors lost the ability to produce vitamin c from our bodies, but they have absorbed just enough vitamin c from the daily food sources.
Ever seen the movie "Unbreakable"? Well, if your body is severely deficient in vitamin C, you can become just as fragile as the "glass man" in the movie. Vitamin C is an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. It increases calcium and iron absorption where calcium is the most important mineral to keep your bones strong and iron-deficiency causes anemia.
Vitamin C is known in helping people to heal wounds, burns and broken bones; It prevents and treats scurvy; It contributes to hemoglobin and red-blood-cell production in bone marrow and it promotes healthy capillaries, gums, teeth.
Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, and it helps collagen in connective tissue.
Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood.
Recent research also suggests that vitamin C is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, which may have implications for blood cholesterol levels and the incidence of gallstones.
Vitamin C is also a highly effective antioxidant, it is important for reducing free-radical production. Even in small amounts, vitamin C can protect indispensable molecules in the body, such as proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) from damage by free radicals and reactive oxygen species that can be generated during normal metabolism as well as through exposure to toxins and pollutants (e.g. smoking).
Vitamin C may also be able to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
More Benefits of Vitamin C
Beside all of the benefits listed in the previous section, vitamin c is also know to provide additional help in the following areas:
Vitamin C reduce symptoms of the common cold and other infections
May reduce cholesterol
May prevent some forms of cancer
Ascorbic acid provides potential protection against heart disease
May help preventing allergies
Helps improving male fertility
May reduce toxic effect of alcohol and drugs
Possible blood-clot prevention
Relief of herpes infections of eyes and genitals
May reduce symptoms of arthritis, skin ulcers, allergic reactions