Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid or ascorbate, is an essential water soluble vitamin.
Fresh supplies of vitamin C are required every day to perform vital roles throughout the body among which are the production of connective tissue such as skin, blood vessels and bone, anti-inflammatory responses and anti-oxidant performance. See below for all roles.
Vitamin C fights for us! It has an anti-cancer effect stemming from its role as a potent anti-oxidant in blood plasma and within cells. It also protects nucleic acids (DNA) from oxidative damage and inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (carcinogenic compounds formed in the digestive tract).
Importantly, vitamin C can regenerate vitamin E from an oxidized state after vitamin E performs its own anti-oxidant role against free radicals and vitamin C works together with other anti-oxidants, such as beta-carotene and glutathione, to increase their overall anti-oxidant effect.
A study investigating the specific anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant micronutrients that reduce oxidative stress found that in adolescents with metabolic syndrome (MetS) the lower the vitamin C level in blood the worse the MetS status and blood uric acid level. MetS prevalence was estimated at 7% among boys and 3% among girls.1
Vitamin C reverses osteoporosis by reducing or preventing oxidative stress that destroys living bone tissue. Osteoporosis is a disorder of bone inflammation that results in thin, weak bones that may easily fracture. In normal bone structure, vitamin C is required to form collagen, which is living bone tissue.
In humans, vitamin C reduces the duration of common cold symptoms, even if its effect is not clear.2
Vitamin C must be obtained from food daily because our bodies, unlike monkeys and other animals, cannot produce it.
Urinary excretion of vitamin C cannot be detected when vitamin intake is below the required levels. On the other hand, when intake exceeds saturation in the body, the vitamin and/or its metabolites are actively excreted into urine to prevent excessive toxicity of the vitamins.3
What Is Vitamin C Deficiency In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?
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TGBeydoun MA, Canas JA, Beydoun HA, Chen X, Shroff MR, Zonderman AB. Serum antioxidant concentrations and metabolic syndrome are associated among U.S. adolescents in recent national surveys. J Nutr. 2012 Sep;142(9):1693-704. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.160416. ↩
Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb YB, Varvara G, Murmura G, Saggini A, Caraffa A, Antinolfi P, Tete’ S, Tripodi D, Conti F, Cianchetti E, Toniato E, Rosati M, Speranza L,Pantalone A, Saggini R, Tei M, Speziali A, Conti P, Theoharides TC, Pandolfi F. Role of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2013 Apr-Jun;27(2):291-5. ↩
Shibata K, Hirose J, Fukuwatari T. Relationship Between Urinary Concentrations of Nine Water-soluble Vitamins and their Vitamin Intakes in Japanese Adult Males. Nutr Metab Insights. 2014 Aug 5;7:61-75. doi: 10.4137/NMI.S17245. eCollection 2014. ↩