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Vitamin C Health


Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is a potent water soluble antioxidant that plays an essential part in sustaining a healthy life. As vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin it can not be stored in our body and must be regularly replenished by food sources. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient commonly found in guava, citrus fruits like oranges, limes, lemons, tangerines, Indian gooseberries and dark green leafy vegetables. The body requires vitamin C to maintain and form healthy blood vessels, bones and skin. Vitamin C can be readily absorbed by the intestines once ingested and act as a potent antioxidant and help to build collagen protein.

Vitamin C acts as a coenzyme or a cofactor and has multiple functions in the body.

Vitamin C as a potent antioxidant – When the body converts food into energy, byproducts such as free radicals are produced which causes oxidative harm in the healthy body cells and tissues. These free radicals are related to many diseases like atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and stroke. Vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant and neutralizes potentially harmful reactions in the blood and fluid surrounding and inside the cells (watery parts of the body). The antioxidant properties are believed to reduce the risk of certain cancers, prevent cardiovascular disease, protect smokers and others exposed to secondhand smoke from the harmful effects of free radicals, lower total cholesterol, strengthen the collagen structures of the arteries, inhibit platelet aggregation and maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Vitamin C and cancer – The powerful antioxidant property of vitamin C may have a cancer preventive activity or may help fight cancer by inhibiting the proliferation of cancerous cells and protecting the healthy cells from free radical damage. High levels of vitamin C in gastric juice in the stomach may help reduce the risk of gastric cancer by inhibiting the formation of carcinogenic compounds. Therapeutically ascorbic acid is used in the treatment of cancer as it is toxic to many cancerous cells and less toxic to other healthy cells. Vitamin C also plays a role in stimulating detoxifying enzymes in the liver and may protect against environment carcinogens and toxins.

Vitamin C and immune system – In certain circumstances vitamin C may be useful as an immune stimulator and modulator. Vitamin C helps stimulate the immune system through the production of interferon, immunologic activity of leucocytes and maintaining the integrity of the mucous membranes.

Vitamin C and heart diseases – Vitamin C may help reduce the stiffness of the arteries and prevent the platelets to clump with each other, thereby have a protective effect against heart diseases. When administered along with vitamin E, it helps to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol and plaque formation in coronary arteries.

Vitamin C, connective tissues and collages – Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen in the connective tissue as it acts as a participant in the hydroxylation process. These collagen fibers provide a firm but flexible structure and ubiquitous throughout the body. Vitamin C is also essential for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones, teeth and healing of wounds.

Submitted on January 16, 2014