What does Vitamin C do for you?
Vitamin C is possibly one of the most well known of the vitamins that are said to help keep us healthy.
It has been said to help prevent the common cold, lessen the effects of certain types of cancer, and keep your skin looking healthy. However not many people know exactly what it does.
The word Vitamin in general is used to describe a carbon based compound that acts as a catalyst for many of the essential chemical reactions that take place within the body. Without these catalysts, the reactions would take place at a much slower late, causing various problems that could include prenatal complications, loss of skin elasticity and many others.
The reason we believe that Vitamin C is something that we need to make sure to include in our diets is because a genetic trait shared by most primates has meant that we are unable to freely produce Vitamin C within our bodies (whereas most other animals still can).
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin (meaning that it is extremely unlikely to have toxic effects in high doses – with a recommended highest intake of over 2000mg per day) that aids in the protection of other vitamin compounds such as Vitamin A and E.
It also helps the formation of collagen by acting as a hydroxylate (adding hydrogen and oxygen) to the amino acids that form collagen. Collagen formation helps reduce the weakening of connective tissues and cartilage.
One of the earliest reasons for the favoring of Vitamin C was the continuous appearance of Scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of the vitamin in the body that was prevalent in the 18th century. Sailors suffered most from this disease because of the lack of a balanced diet while out at sea, since it was easier to carry preserved foods than perishables and fresh fruit and vegetables. The disease became less common when British sailors began carrying bottles of lime juice on long trips to maintain high Vitamin C levels (since citrus fruits and many acidic vegetables contain high amounts of Vitamin C).
Unfortunately, in today’s times, natural sources of vitamin C such as oranges are no longer what they used to be. Vitamin C is a very unstable compound that breaks down easily. According to a study done by the NRF, the time it takes from the fruit tree via the supermarket to get to the consumer, results in most oranges you buy in stores containing very little or no vitamin C.
Thus, the dire need for high quality vitamin C supplements. Most doctors now recognize the need for vitamin C supplementation and would recommend it.
Written by: Wesley Geyer