Sunday, July 10, 2011

Importance of Vitamin C

Importance of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the water soluble vitamins. Since they are usually eliminated in the urine when taken in excess, they are not usually associated with toxicity. Vitamin C is also stored in the liver. It is interesting that most animals produce their own vitamin C, but man, primates, and guinea pigs do not have this ability.

   What is the importance of vitamin C?
Vitamin C is vital in the production of collagen and helps to protect the fat-soluble vitamins A and E as well as fatty acids from oxidation. Collagen is a substance that is the most abundant of the fibers contained in the connective tissue, which gives our body form and supports our organs. A complex series of events occurs inside and outside the cells when collagen is produced. Vitamin C is essential to cellular activity by adding oxygen and hydrogen (hydroxylating) to two amino acids: proline and lysine, forming a precusor molecule called procollagen, which is then modified into collagen outside the cell.

What diseases are caused by vitamin C deficiency?
Vitamin C is one of the most beneficial of vitamins. It prevents and cures the disease scurvy, which cause muscle degeneration, wounds that wont heal, excessive bruising, bleeding of the gums, loose teeth, joint pain, and numerous other problems. Scurvy was described as early as 1500 BC in Greek and Roman writings. A British report in 1600 indicated that in the previous 20 years some 10,000 mariners had been destroyed by the disease. In 1747 as the HMS Salisbury sailed from England to the Plymouth Colony, the ship's physician, James Lind, performed a simple experiment to determine what might be effective as a cure for scurvy. Lind divided his 12 ill men into six groups of two each. All 12 shared a common diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner but each group received a different supplement as follows:
Quart of apple juice daily
25 drops of elixir vitriol (sulfuric acid and aromatics),
two spoonfuls of vinegar three times a day,
concoction of herbs and spices,
half-pint of sea water daily, and
two oranges and one lemon daily.
The two men who ate the oranges and lemon recovered immediately. One was fit for duty in six days and the other was also well in six days and was appointed as nurse to all the others. The two men who drank apple cider improved but were not well enough to work. None of the others showed any improvement.
The British Navy adopted his remedy and British sailors have been nicknamed "Limeys" ever since, because they took limejuice on long sea voyages to ward off Scurvy. Vitamin C can also be helpful in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia.

  • What are the best sources of vitamin C?
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, and grapefruit, and vegetables including tomatoes, green pepper, potatoes and many others. Optimum amounts of vitamin C are best derived from fruits and vegetables that havent been overcooked. Too much processing and heat significantly diminishes the quality and quantity of vitamin C.

  • Can vitamin C be toxic?
Although vitamin C is absolutely essential for human health, there are possible negative side effects if taken in excess. 
They are: the toxic release of inorganic iron which is potentially fatal, formation of oxalate kidney stones, diarrhea, teeth enamel damage if chewed, and heart arrhythmia.

Source : Star Health 

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