Vitamin C: Functions And Benefits

vitamin c

Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient that plays a very important role in regulating body’s functions. It is one of the significant water-soluble vitamin available in several fruits and vegetables. It can be obtained through several dietary sources.

Functions

  • It boosts the immunity
  • Due to its antioxidant properties, it prevents cell damage by preventing free radical formation.
  • It helps in producing collagen that provides structural support to various organs
  • Promotes iron absorption
  • Helps in faster wound healing
  • Reduces blood uric acid levels, thereby prevents gout
  • Maintains cardiovascular health, prevents eye problems and skin wrinkles.
  • Provides protection against viral and bacterial infections.

Research has demonstrated that due to its antioxidant properties, it reduces inflammation and provides immunity against chronic conditions, including some cancer.

It has showed beneficial effects against viral infections. It provides protection against oxidative stress that results in the accumulation of free radicals. Free radicals are the reactive molecules that cause cell damage and affect the immune status. Vitamin C supplementation has shown significant improvements in symptoms of patients affected with viral infections and respiratory problems.

Collagen, the main component of connective tissue is synthesized when adequate levels of vitamin C are maintained.

Dietary Source

Foods that provide sufficient amount of vitamin C includes citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, limes and lemons, Kiwi fruit, Cantaloupe melon and watermelon and berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants. Other rich source of vitamin C includes spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, green and red peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and potatoes.

Recommended dosage (RDA)

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.

Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency occurs when adequate intake of vitamin C rich foods is not included in the diet. Persistent deficiency of Vitamin C can result in a situation called scurvy. There will be impaired collagen synthesis, increased infections and overall immunity of the body will be compromised. Due to loss of connective tissue structural framework the joints, skin and the gums will easily bleed. There will be weakened bone, and loss of tooth structure if proper level of vitamin C is not maintained through diet. People who smoke, and with medical conditions such as intestinal malabsorption have a higher risk of vitamin C deficiency. It is necessary to either have vitamin C rich foods or compensate the lack by taking supplements.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Dry skin
  • Muscle and body pains
  • Delayed healing of wounds
  • Fatigue
  • Small bruise like spots on the skin
  • Easy bruising.
  • Splitting hair.
  • Swollen gums that can easily bleed
  • Gum discoloration (Reddish-blue)
  • Nose bleeding
  • Bleeding into joints
  • Increased flu like issues (Decreased immunity)

Overview

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in several important functions of the body. It can be obtained through various dietary sources or through supplements. It has shown impressive health benefits such as reduces free radicals formation, protects against heart disease, better iron absorption and boosts immune response. Overall, Vitamin C is significant and an essential micronutrient that regulates several functions of the body.

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