Vitamin C and health

key lime_2

These key lime bars are a great way to get a little Vitamin C. recipe

Yes, we all know that Vitamin C is good for us. Even the junkiest junk food will sell when the advertiser claims that it has a molecule of Vitamin C in it.

But why is Vitamin C so good for us?

Vitamin C is, among other things, an antioxidant. That means it tames free radical molecules by giving up one of its electrons to it. A free radical is an oxygen molecule that has an unpaired electron and is greedy to steal one from wherever it can. Sometimes it steals from necessary structures like DNA molecules and damages them. So, Vitamin C sacrifices its own electron to combat this.

Vitamin C, whose other name is ascorbic acid, is water soluble. The body doesn’t store it, but it excretes whatever it doesn’t use. One drawback of Vitamin C is that it’s not very stable and it can grow less potent by being exposed too long to oxygen, light and heat. It’s best to store it in a cool, dark, dry place, which of course, would not be the typical medicine cabinet.

Vitamin C is mainly responsible for making collagen, which is a protein that’s serves as a springy cushion beneath the skin and is also necessary to make connective tissue in the bones and ligaments. Vitamin C is also important in wound and burn healing precisely because it stimulates the formation of connective tissue.

Vitamin C also helps to form red blood cells and helps to prevent hemorrhaging. It also fights bacterial infections and helps the body fight off allergens. Vitamin C protects people against cataracts and supports high levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the “good” cholesterol. It also seems to help people with diabetes, glaucoma, hepatitis and asthma.

The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C is about 60 milligrams, though people who are under stress need more. Pregnant women need about 10 mm extra per day of Vitamin C, while nursing mothers need from 30 to 35 mm extra per day.

On top of all this, Vitamin C is important in the working of other necessary substances in the body. It helps the metabolism of amino acids, especially tyrosine and phenylalanine and converts the unusable folic acid into folinic acid, which can be used by the body. Vitamin C also protects many of the B complex vitamins as well as its fellow antioxidants Vitamins A and E.

Fortunately, lots of fruits and vegetables are full of Vitamin C including citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, cantaloupes and strawberries.

What are some of your favorite ways to get your Vitamin C on? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. So, here’s my vitamin C testimonial: I used to have sinus infections twice a year, spring and fall, brought on by seasonal allergies. I would also always catch any virus that I came in contact with. But about 4 years ago, I started taking a gummy multivitamin and vitamin c every day, and the following season that pesky sinus infection was conspicuously absent. And I didn’t seem to be sick as much. It’s been about 4 or 5 years since I’ve had an infection, in fact. i still have the allergies, but the impact is not as bad, and I tend not to catch everyone’s cold, either.

    Now like most people, I know that I didn’t get enough vitamin c from the food I ate, because I didn’t eat enough produce. And like most people, I hated taking pills, so adding one more tablet or capsule a day just seemed like the last straw. That’s why I chose the adult gummy multivitamins and vitamin c. It was something I was willing to do daily, which was more than I could say for swallowing tablets.

    I will add, though, that there is sugar in those gummy vitamins, and when I started living a low-carb lifestyle at the beginning of last month, I decided that I wasn’t willing to spend the carbs on my gummies. The daily vitamin habit was already established, so switching to pills wasn’t that difficult, though I don’t look forward to it as much as I did before.

  2. I love getting it from citrus fruits, oranges and lemons yum yum :)

  3. Bell peppers are probably my favourite source, although certainly I get some from fresh lemon and lime juice in homemade iced tea and smoothies.

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