Benefits Of Vitamin C

Published 5/16/13

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C, also known a L-ascorbic acid or acsorbate, is an essential vitamin that can be consumed by humans and animals. The term vitamin C is used to describe the group of vitamers that display vitamin C activity when consumed by humans and animals. The term “vitamer” is used to describe any number of chemical compounds that feature similar molecular structure and display similar activity when consumed in a vitamin-deficient biological system.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin C

The most common benefit associated with vitamin C is boosting the immune system. But it is not commonly known why this increased immune system activity occurs. Vitamin C actually reduces the level of stress that can weaken the immune system, therefore reducing the risk of infection and improving overall health. It is common belief that vitamin C cures the common cold but this may not be true. Studies are not able to confirm this claim but the research does show that the consumption of vitamin C can prevent more serious complications stem from the common cold, such as pneumonia or other lung infections. High blood levels of vitamin C are associated with a lower risk of stroke. This lower risk can be as much as 40% lower but it is not clear if the lowered risk stems completely from the consumption of vitamin C or from an improved diet. Vitamin C is also known for its ability to protect the body against harmful free radicals, toxins, and pollutants. The build up of these harmful molecules can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Other benefits include aiding many body functions such as the formation of collagen, absorbing iron, healing wounds, and maintaining the health of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

Vitamin C Foods

The best sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and strawberries. Other popular sources are mango, watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, and pineapple.

Vitamin C Deficiency

For the most part, vitamin C deficiency is fairly uncommon in most modern societies. A balanced diet will provide the daily-required amount of vitamin C. Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include fatigue, mood swings, sudden and rapid weight loss, poor dental conditions, chronic joint and muscle aches, slow healing of wounds, and frequent infections that adequate vitamin C consumption would prevent. A diet low in vitamin C can be countered by consuming a vitamin C supplement or multivitamin. 

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