All About Vitamin C

All About Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a humble, but versatile nutrient. Commonly found in citrus, berries, and other fruit such as watermelon and mango, it assists the body in forming protein to make skin, ligaments, and tendons as well as blood vessels; helps to heal wounds; and aids iron absorption. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. As such, it also is used by the body to fight free radicals that can age our bodies inside and out. But humans are one of the few animals, along with apes and guinea pigs, who do not make vitamin C nor have the ability to store it. As a water-soluble vitamin, it dissolves in water and any not used by the body rapidly leaves the system through urine excretion. All water-soluble vitamins need to be ingested regularly to prevent a deficiency.

Vitamin C is a known significant benefit to health goes back to 1747 and British naval surgeon James Lind’s experiments with citrus fruits as a treatment for scurvy. In 1932, chemist Walter Haworth determined the molecular structure of isolated hexuronic acid and named it ascorbic acid. The following year, Haworth led a team of scientists to synthetically create ascorbic acid. Today, vitamin C and ascorbic acid are used interchangeably. Haworth won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with vitamin C in 1937. In 1970, chemist Linus Pauling published Vitamin C and the Common Cold. As a bestseller, it highly influenced the role of vitamin C in immune-boosting to fight the common colds’ prevention and treatment in the mind of the greater public.

Today, immune-boosting is definitely on the forefront of most everyone’s mind. Vitamin C is shown to aid in the motility (independent movement) of white blood cells. White blood cells are the body’s defense against germs such as bacteria and viruses. Because vitamin C moves through the body so quickly and cannot be created or stored, during times of vulnerability, supplementation throughout the day can be helpful to keep the immune system strong.

While getting the bulk of your nutrition from real foods such as fruits and vegetables is always recommended, vitamin C is an inexpensive and readily available nutrient to find in supplement form. Vitamin C supplements come in a wide variety. Capsules and tablets are common, as are lozenges, chewable gummies, and wafers. It is also found as a powder that can be added to water, juice, or smoothies. Since it comes in so many forms, finding a way to take it that suits the individual is easy. High-quality vitamin C supplements are whole-food derived so the body has ready access. Very commonly, vitamin C is a top ingredient in multivitamins, so be sure to read labels to see what amount in milligrams is included. Most vitamin C supplements come in either 500- or 1000-milligram doses. Check with your doctor to see what dose is most appropriate for your age and level of health. Although too much vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, a megadose may cause upset stomach, headache, and insomnia.

Vitamin C may be very common, but don’t underestimate its importance in keeping your body at peak performance. Taken throughout the day, you are giving your body what it needs to function efficiently and boost your immune system.