Vitamin C also called as ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin which is found in fruits and vegetables in its natural form. Vitamin C is an important vitamin to heal the wounds; this is because it helps in producing collagen tissue which is the basic component of the connective tissue.
Lack of vitamin C results in a disease called scurvy, where there is bleeding from gums and the wound healing takes a longer time. Many years ago, lack of vitamin C caused number of deaths and serious health problems due to scurvy.
This was a problem faced by those who traveled on long ocean trips, where they did not get fresh vegetables and fruits. Human body cannot manufacture vitamin C on its own; it has to depend on the food they eat.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin C Or Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C is the most powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. It protects the cells in our body from the harmful molecules called the free radicals. Besides this it is needed to make the protein of the connective tissue called collagen, it helps to maintain the structure of the tissue all thorough the body such as skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels, gums etc.
Vitamin C also accelerates the iron absorption in the intestine. It helps to breakdown the cholesterol to bile acids. It is known to boost the immune system and it also helps to resist the invading virus of the upper respiratory tract. Its role in protecting against cancer, retinal degeneration and cataract are well known. Vitamin C lowers the blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Following diseases can be caused due to the lack of vitamin C:
- Cancer, intestinal disease, prolonged diarrhea, stomach ulcer, tuberculosis among persons who smoke and drink.
- Fever of a longer duration, AIDS, hyperthyroidism and stress in patients who undergo stomach surgery etc.
Symptoms Of Lack Of Vitamin C
Scurvy is the disease caused by lack of vitamin; it is caused due to prolonged consumption of a diet devoid of fruits and vegetables. The principal deficiency in such as diet is lack of ascorbic acid, which is responsible for the characteristic symptoms of the disease.
- Spongy and swollen gums, in between the teeth.
- Swollen gums bleed on slightest touch.
- Hemorrhage through the tiny blood vessels often on the lower thigh just above the knee.
- Fresh wounds fail to heal. A feature that a surgeon has to bear in mind while performing surgery.
- Increased susceptibility to infection.
- Retention of fluid in the tissues.
- Skin becomes dry and scaly.
- Osteoporosis of the spine.
- General weakness
- Joint pains