February 10, 2014

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

Functions of Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required by the body for the development and maintenance of scar tissue, blood vessels, and cartilage. 
  • Vitamin C is also necessary for creating ATP, dopamine, peptide hormones, and tyrosine. 
  • As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps lessen oxidative stress to the body and is thought to lower cancer risk.
  • It increases the absorption of iron from foods
  • It improves physical endurance and decelerates the aging process. 
The body is not able to make vitamin C on its own, and it does not store vitamin C. It is therefore important to include plenty of vitamin C-containing foods in your daily diet.

All kinds of citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C include:

  • Fruits - Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange, clementines, grapefruit, Mango, Papaya, Pineapple, Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, Watermelon, Guava, Kiwi, black currants and pineapple
  • Vegetables - Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Green and red and hot chili peppers, Spinach, red cabbage, turnip greens, Sweet and white potatoes, Tomatoes, banana pepper,  
  • Fresh Herbs and Spice - Thyme provides the most vitamin C of any herb with 160mg (267% DV) per 100 gram serving, 1.6mg (3% DV) in a single teaspoon. Parsley provides 133mg (222% DV) per 100 gram serving, 79mg (133% DV) per cup, 5mg (9% DV) per tablespoon, 13.3mg (22% DV) in 10 sprigs. Basil (Dried), Rosemary (Dried), Chilli Powder, Coriander (Dry) and Cloves (Ground) are also a good source.
  • Dark leafy greens are more than just a source of calcium, and are packed with other vitamins including vitamin C. Raw kale provides the most vitamin C with 120mg (200% DV) per 100 gram serving, 80mg (134% DV) per cup chopped. It is followed by mustard greens which provide 70mg (117% DV) per 100 gram serving, and 29mg (65% DV) per cup chopped. Garden cress provides 69mg (115% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 35mg (58% DV) per cup
  • Saffron
  • Foods fortified with vitamin C, such as breakfast cereals and beverages
Daily Requirements
  • Men over 18 years: 90 mg
  • Women over 18 years: 75 mg
  • Pregnant women over 18 years: 85 mg
  • Breastfeeding women over 18 years: 120 mg
Vitamin C deficiency
  • Anemia
  • Bleeding gums
  • Decreased ability to fight infection
  • Decreased wound-healing rate
  • Easy bruising
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
  • Rough, dry, scaly skin
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Weakened tooth enamel
Severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy, which mainly affects older, malnourished adults.

The common symptoms of Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid include fatigue, malaise, and inflammation of the gums. As Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid continues to develop a person will find that: collagen synthesis becomes impaired and connective tissues become weakened, joint pain, poor wound healing, hyperkeratosis, and corkscrew hairs. As scurvy begins to set in a person will experience depression, swollen bleeding gums, and loosening or loss of teeth due to tissue fragility.

Toxicity is very low in Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid because it is a water soluble vitamin. There have been studies which have shown signs of long term over use of Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid might have serious long term negative health effects. These studies normally show people who take amounts far exceeding the recommended upper intake levels for many years. There still have been upper intake levels established for Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid to prevent serious long term health damage.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C
  • Alleviation of Cardiovascular Disease and High Blood Pressure - Several studies support that consuming at least 500mg a day of vitamin C can increase the amount blood vessels relax, or dilate, in a process known as vasodilation. This process is thought to help lower blood pressure, reducing risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Increased Immune Function (*Controversial) - Vitamin C has a reputation for boosting immune function and possibly preventing incidence of the common cold. Repeated studies have show this is not true for the general population,4,5 and the effect of vitamin C reducing the incidence of cold is mostly seen in those with a vitamin C deficiency, and in athletes under intense physical strain.
  • Increased Iron Absorption - Vitamin C increases iron absorption, however, this should be noted with care, as too much vitamin C can lead to iron toxicity in certain individuals.

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