Vitamin C: An Important Antioxidant And So Much More
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is probably one of the best known nutrients. It is fairly common knowledge that a lack of this vitamin is the cause of scurvy that was suffered by sailors on long voyages across the oceans long ago.
Symptoms of scurvy include loss of appetite and weight, diarrhea, fever, tenderness of the body and swelling as well as semi-paralysis. Advanced cases show bleeding of the gums, loose teeth, bleeding from the eyes, joint troubles, and skin disorders among others. Scurvy can also lead to death.
Vitamin C is clearly essential to good health in many ways. Scurvy is prevented and even cured by the consumption of it in any of its forms.
Unfortunately, the human body cannot create it and must therefore take it in as a supplement or as part of the diet.
Most commonly, citrus fruits such as oranges and limes as well as fruits and vegetables such as blackcurrants, kiwi, tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, and spinach are good sources of this vitamin. It is also available in certain meats such as liver and seafood such as oysters.
Aside from avoiding diseases such as scurvy, it is an effective antioxidant which will assist and avoiding conditions such as atherosclerosis (heart disease, stroke) and many different cancers.
It is well known as a fighter of the common cold and as an antihistamine that will help to alleviate inflammation and blocked sinuses and aches and pains associated with a cold.
This vitamin can also help to lower blood pressure (hypertension) that can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
I didn’t know this before, but it can also help to reduce lead levels in blood. The dangers of lead toxicity are well known (lowered IQ in children and kidney damage and hypertension in adults.)
Many parts of the body require vitamin C to function properly. Taking in less than you require will no doubt result in impairment in those areas.
How much is enough?
The current US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 60 mg, although a lesser amount may be adequate if taken in a multi-supplement that also includes citric acid and/or citrus bioflavonoids (naturally occurring compounds in vitamin C), which aid in absorption.
Read our pages on:
Flax Seed Oil
Benefits of Soy
Benefits of Whey Protein
Benefits of Vitamin C
Benefits of Co Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Arabinogalactan for your immune system
Colostrum for your immune system
Importance of Potassium
Return to top of vitamin C page