Vitamin C is an important nutrient, but what does vitamin C do and what are its health benefits?
Vitamin C (also known as asorbic acid) is a water soluble vitamin that can't be produced by the body and must be obtained from food or supplements.
Because vitamin C is water soluble, the body excretes it instead of storing it. This is why you need to make sure that you get enough vitamin C on a daily basis.
Severe vitamin C deficiency has been known for many centuries as the disease scurvy. Scurvy is rare in developed countries since it can be prevented by as little as 10 mg of vitamin C daily.
Vitamin C has many important functions within the body. It's required for the growth and repair of tissue in all parts of the body. It's necessary to form collagen, a protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It's essential for the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth. It's used during any type of healing process. It helps strengthen the immune system.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the body's cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals can cause cell damage that leads to aging and the development of some diseases.
Vitamin C has been promoted as a treatment for various illnesses, such as the common cold, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cataracts and macular degeneration, but the evidence for these claims is mixed.
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for vitamin C is 90 mg per day for adult men and 75 mg per day for adult women, but many scientists and health experts believe that these amounts are too low. Many recommend anywhere from 200 mg to 2,000 mg per day, and some even recommend much higher amounts. High amounts of vitamin C can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea, but vitamin C toxicity is very rare since the body doesn't store the vitamin.
All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Some of the fruits and vegetables that contain the highest amounts are citrus fruits and juices, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, strawberries and cantaloupe.
Vitamin C supplements are a convenient and reliable source of vitamin C for people who don't eat many fruits or vegetables.
In conclusion, vitamin C is an important nutrient and you need to make sure that you get enough vitamin C every day.
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