Basic Facts on Vitamin C:
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin.
Humans vary greatly in their individual requirements for vitamin C. Some people need 10 times as much vitamin C as others, and a person's age and health status can dramatically change their need.
Daily consumption of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables would provide about 250mg of vitamin C, but statistics show that less than 1 in 10 people get this much from their diet.
Most mammals can synthesize their own vitamin C. Humans, guinea pigs, apes and a few other species cannot, because they lack the enzyme which is required to carry out this process.
Surveys show that 25 percent or more of the population in the United States take vitamin C supplements.
Immune system. Vitamin C is a critical component of a well-functioning immune system.
Heart disease. Vitamin C plays a very important role in protecting the health of your cardiovascular system. By boosting the vitamin E in your system, vitamin C protects against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream that leads to atherosclerosis, the first step in cardiovascular disease.
High Blood Pressure. The benefits of vitamin C in lowering high blood pressure have been demonstrated in many studies.
Diabetes. Supplementing with vitamin C may slow the progression of diabetes.
Cancer. The benefits of vitamin C as a powerful cancer fighter are well documented. Dozens of studies show that vitamin C protects against cancer in two ways: first, it works by protecting your DNA from free radical damage, the first step to a cancerous growth. Secondly, vitamin C feeds your lymphocytes, part of your body's main defense system against cancer.
For Your Skin. Several studies suggest that the topical application of ascorbic acid skin creams and lotions can actually simulate the production of collagen and make skin look younger and smoother.
Discover more Benefits of Vitamin C
A low intake of fruits and vegetables is the most common contributor to vitamin C deficiency symptoms. In the United States, about one third of all adults get less vitamin C from their diet than is recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, and 1 out of every 6 adults gets less than half the amount recommended.
Is there a consensus on how much vitamin C we need? Despite 30 years of research on the benefits of vitamin C, there is still not any consensus about what the optimal daily amount is. It's most likely that individual needs will vary widely. People who are in poor health and under a great deal of oxidative stress may require higher amounts,
Categories of drugs that can diminish the body's supply of vitamin C include oral contraceptives (birth control pills), NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin), corticosteroids (like cortisone), antibiotics and barbiturates.
Scurvy. A deficiency of vitamin C in your diet results in scurvy, a disease characterized by bleeding gums, skin hemorrhages, weakened bones, and eventually, death. Scurvy was a common occurrence on long sea voyages when sailors endured months on the ocean without any fresh fruits or vegetables. Once they discovered the cause, they began to take along citrus fruits, mostly lemons and limes, to provide the benefits of vitamin C on long voyages.
Vitamin C is critical to the body's immune and detoxification systems. Overload in either of these areas can increase the risk of vitamin C deficiency.
Discover more about Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
Foods high in vitamin C include berries, citrus fruit, red peppers, cherries, pineapple, broccoli, corn, parsley, cantaloupe, papaya, peaches, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes.
Vitamin C is highly sensitive to air, water, and heat. About 25% of the vitamin C in vegetables can be lost simply by boiling or steaming the food for a few minutes. You lose about the same amount in the freezing and thawing of vitamin C foods.
Cooking vegetables and fruits for longer periods of time can result in a loss of over one half the total vitamin C content. Canning fruits and vegetables and then reheating them before serving leaves only about one-third of the original vitamin C content.
Learn more about Vitamin C Foods
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