Vitamin C or ascorbic acid plays a vital role in the formation of collagen and other body processes, essential for life. Cells are bound together by collagen (protein) to form tissues that adhere like glue. The bones, skin, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and other structures are dependent on collagen.
- Deficiency of Vitamin C causes lethal disease scurvy, in which collagen disintegrates within the body, leading to widespread internal bleeding and finally death.
- Ascorbic acid is the scientific name for Vitamin C and it means ‘without scurvy’. Scientists believe that degenerative diseases like atherosclerosis and cancer are manifestations of mild scurvy. For preventing scurvy, only 60 mg of Vitamin C is necessary, but for optimal health the requirement is much more. Over a period of time, less than optimal intake of this vitamin can cause mild deficiency of the nutrient and increase a person’s susceptibility to diseases.
- Damage caused by age-related diseases and ageing can be prevented. It scavenges hydroxyl radical, super oxide radical and singlet oxygen. It effectively deactivates the radicals, as it is an excellent source of electrons.
- Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and so it works in the blood plasma, between cells, eye fluid and lung fluid which are the watery areas of the body. Since about 80% of our body is composed of water, it’s antioxidant role is very important, because it can fight aqueous radicals before they get an opportunity to damage body lipids. The formation of dangerous free radicals is prevented by preventing lipid per oxidation.
- Vitamin C works against toxins and pollution that damage cells and cause mutations. It protects lung-lining fluids against damage by air pollution, by reducing carcinogens to inactive products. It reacts with nitrite before converting into nitrosamines.
- It also enhances immune function in various ways. It reduces nasal irritation and congestion in many people. It enhances the effects of Vitamin E, lowers total cholesterol and it increases immunity against infectious diseases. It helps to repair tissues, heals wound and promotes growth and utilizes iron. The intensity and duration of cold can be shortened. Symptoms of allergies and asthma can be reduced.
- In aged people, the levels of Vitamin C in body and blood go on decreasing. But those who take vitamin supplements have enhanced immunity. People who consume this vitamin in the correct proportions face lower death rate from heart disease.
Recommended Daily Dosage Of Vitamin C
This vitamin is not produced in our body, so entirely through diet and supplementation the essential requirements by our body must be met. 200 mg per day is the daily requirement. Vitamin C is easily eliminated from the body. As it is easily soluble in water, it should be taken at various intervals during the day.
To maintain blood levels, some dietitians recommend 1000 mg with each meal. However, you can take 2000 mg three times a day if you are at a risk for cancer for any reason or if you have an unhealthy diet.
Sometimes intestinal discomfort (gas and diarrhea) may be caused if excess amount of Vitamin C is taken. Simply cut back your intake, if this occurs. It is believed that you can take more of Vitamin C if you are sick. But when diarrhea occurs simply reduce your intake by 10%, and gradually increase your dosage when you feel better. Now your body tolerance improves rapidly.
You should also supplement magnesium and other nutrients when you are taking large amounts of Vitamin C.