Vitamin C Introduction
Vitamin C which is also called as ascorbic acid was discovered by Albert Szent-Györgyi in 1912. It is a six carbon compound, naturally found in citrus fruits and many other vegetables. It is an essential nutrient in human diet necessary to maintain connective tissue. Vitamin C cannot be produced or stored by humans and must be obtained through the diet.
Sources of Ascorbic Acid
The main sources of Vitamin C are raw and fresh vegetables. Orange, grape, lime and lemon are especially very rich in vitamin C. Other sources of this Vitamin include Bell peppers, Broccoli, kiwi, Strawberries etc.
Requirements of Ascorbic Acid
Recommended amount of vitamin C for different age groups is as follows:
Absorption and storage of Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic acid is rapidly absorbed by intestines and is passed on through the portal vein into the general circulation. Organs like liver and other tissues maintain the optimal level of asorbic acid.
Deficiency of Ascorbic Acid
Severe deficiency of vitamin C leads to a disease named scurvy. Scurvy is characterized by easy bruising and hemorrhaging of the skin, loosening of the teeth, bleeding of the gums and disruption of the cartilages supporting the skeleton.
Functions of Ascorbic Acid
The following are the functions of ascorbic acid,
- It is critical for building collagen. Collage is the connective tissue protein which cements the cells and tissues together.
- This vitamin helps in the formation of strong blood vessels.
- Vitamin C also helps in holding the teeth and bones firmly in their sockets.
- It plays an important role as an antioxidant, by regenerating oxidized vitamin E in the membranes.
- It reduces the ferric ion (Fe3+) to ferrous (Fe2+) ion and thus helps in the absorption of iron.
- This vitamin is essential for rapid healing of wounds.
- Vitamin C helps fighting bacterial infections.
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