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Vitamin C Supplements


Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin required for the synthesis of collagen. It also forms a structural component of cartilages, blood vessels, tendons, muscles and bone. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron and thus plays an important role in correcting iron deficiency anemia. It is well known for its antioxidant properties and generation of other antioxidants such as vitamin E. Vitamin C can neither be produced nor stored in the body as it is water soluble, thus it should be obtained through diet or supplements.

Vitamin C is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables including Indian gooseberries, guava, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, sweet potatoes, lemon and kiwi fruit.

Vitamin C requirements can be adequately fulfilled by consuming a balanced diet, but if you decide to take supplements then consult a specialist or a health care professional before starting any supplements for correct dosage and guidance.

Vitamin C supplements are available in many forms but there is little evidence for which form is better absorbed or effective than other. Natural and synthetic ascorbic acid supplements are also chemically identical and thus there are no known differences between their bioavailability.

Although uncommon, scurvy is caused by dietary deficiency of vitamin C. It is mainly seen in malnourished individuals, infants where breast milk is the sole source of nutrition and those with increased requirements for vitamin C like pregnant and breastfeeding women. Administration of vitamin C under strict medical supervision helps to improve the symptoms. 
Vitamin C supplements for the treatment or prevention of common cold and respiratory infections has been studied vastly, but the topic still remains controversial. The still ongoing research proves only marginal reduction in the risk of developing colds or already developed colds. However in some studies vitamin C significantly reduces the risk of developing colds by approximately 50% in people living in extreme climates, or in an extraordinary condition like sub-arctic exercises, soldiers, and marathon runners.

Many other uses of vitamin C supplements have been proposed like its effectiveness in decreasing the risk of urinary tract infections during pregnancy, asthma, protection against different types of cancers like mouth, esophagus, lungs, stomach and colon, helicobacter pylori infection, ischemic heart disease, metabolic abnormalities, calculus or plaque on teeth, pneumonia, pregnancy, skin pigmentation and skin damage caused by sun, prostate cancer, vaginitis, and prevention or progression of cataracts. However no conclusive studies have been proposed for all these conditions and further research is necessary in these fields to prove the effectiveness of vitamin C in these disease conditions.

Submitted on January 16, 2014