Vitamin C

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be made or stored by the human body.  It is an essential nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, and therefore blocks some damage caused by free radicals, which may cause conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.  It also plays a role in immune function.  Vitamin C is important in many enzymatic reactions, and it is a cofactor for the synthesis of many important biochemicals.  It is needed for the growth and repair of body tissues and is needed to make collagen, which comprises the skin and blood vessels.  Vitamin C is also needed for wound healing and bone and teeth maintenance.

Where is it Vitamin C found?

It is found mostly in fruits and vegetables, especially guava, red pepper, kiwi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, papayas, strawberries, oranges, kale, spinach, tomatoes and mango. It is also found in some cuts of meat, such as liver.

What are the benefits of Vitamin C?

Ensuring adequate vitamin C prevents and treats scurvy.  Additionally, taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C per 30mg iron increases iron absorption.  It has also been shown to be effective in reducing age-related macular degeneration, albuminuria, atherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease, cancer, common cold, erythema, gallbladder disease, hypertension, lead toxicity, and improved physical performance and osteoarthritis.

Are there interactions between Vitamin C and food, herbs or other supplements?

Some data shows that vitamin C increases serum chromium absorption.  It also increases iron absorption.  High doses of vitamin C have been shown to decrease serum copper levels.  Other evidence suggests that vitamin B12 is destroyed by vitamin C supplements, so supplements should be taken at least 2 hours after meals.

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