Vitamin C: Benefits, Sources, Deficiency Syndromes

About Vitamin C

Sea explorers in the early sixteenth century used to get contracted a deadly disease called Scurvy. In 1947 Dr. James Lind noticed that eating oranges and lemon juice cured the disease. Dr. Charles J. King from Petersburg University and S. Georgia from Hungary first noticed Ascorbic acid or vitamin C as an anti-scurvy element in 1933.

Nature:

  • Vitamin C is chemically known as Ascorbic acid. 
  • It is also known as anti-scorbutic acid
  • Vitamin C is a white crystalline compound. 
  • The composition of vitamin C is simple and related to Monosaccharide sugars. It can be made from glucose at a very less expense.
  • Vitamin C is heat sensitive. So it is more effective in raw food.
  • Vitamin C is water-soluble so wastage of cooked water can be a cause of deficiency of vitamin C in food.
  • Contact of oxygen from air decreases the effectiveness of vitamin C.
  • If we leave fruits after cutting for a long time, vitamin C gets destroyed due to oxidation.
  • Mixing soda in food destroys vitamin C.
  • Contact of the light, copper, excess base, and acid destroys vitamin C.

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Chemical Composition:

Vitamin C is a compound made of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen.
The molecular formula of vitamin C - [C6H8O6] or [HC6H7O6]
Oxidation of Ascorbic acid produces Dehydroascorbic Acid which is similarly active as vitamin C.

Vitamin C

Absorption into the Body:

Vitamin C is absorbed by the active sodium-dependent mechanism of the intestinal Jejunum. Dehydroascorbic acid is absorbed inactively. Excessive consumption of vitamin C decreases the level of absorption.

Rich Sources of Vitamin C:

Top rich sources of vitamin C are Amla(Phyllanthus emblica) and Guava. Besides, there are green leafy vegetables, ripe Papaya, Pineapple, Tomato, Orange, and other citrus fruits. Bananas, Apples, sprouted yellow lentils, sprouted grams and grapes also contain vitamin C in a little amount.

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Amount of vitamin C in various food items-

Food Items

Vitamin C
(mg per 100 g)

Amla

700

Raw Guava

377

Green leafy vegetables

50-200

Tomato Juice

170

Orange juice

124

A large orange

97.5

Kiwi fruits

64

Raw Mango

60.1

Lemon

44.5

Pineapple

78.9


Daily Requirement of Vitamin C:

(mg = milligram)

Category

Age

Vitamin C (mg)

New-borns

6 months

40

Infants

7-12 months

50

Children

1-3

15

Children

4-8

25

Children

9-13

45

Teenage Boys

14-18

75

Teenage Girls

14-18

65

Adult Men

 

90

Adult Women

 

75

Pregnant  Women

 

85

Breastfeeding  Women

 

120
























Functions of Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is associated with multiple numbers of physiological functions. 
  • Vitamin C holds an important place to activate the enzyme Proline Hydroxilage. Activated Proline Hydroxilage accelerated the attachment of Hydroxyl group which produces Hydroxyproline which is an active element of the fiber collagen.
  • The first important role of Vitamin C is to help to produce collagen protein and Osteoid. Collagen protein helps in the formation of connective tissue. It protects bones, teeth, the dentin of teeth, cartilages, and blood vessels. Collagens that are produced in the absence of vitamin C are weak in nature.
  • Vitamin C helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
  • It participates in oxidation to create Dehydroascorbic acid and easily gives hydrogen in the oxidation process of other elements.
  • Vitamin C participates in the metabolism process of an amino acid called tyrosine.
  • Helps in the formation of Hemoglobin and Red Blood Cells.
  • Helps to prevent bleeding.
  • Helps in the absorption of calcium into the body.
  • Produces Carnetin which helps in the transportation of fatty acids.
  • Vitamin C is essential to generate active Dihydrofolic acid and Tetrahydrofolic acid from inactive Folic acid.
  • It transforms Folic acid into Folinic acid.
  • Protects unsaturated fatty acid from getting destroyed.
  • Vitamin C helps in healing wounds.
  • It helps to prevent Scurvy.
  • It helps in the functions of Fibroblast and Osteoblast cells.
  • It participates in the functions of the adrenal gland. Vitamin C acts as a co-factor in synthesizing adrenalin
  • It also helps in producing the steroid grouped hormones from the outer part of the adrenal gland.
  • Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant inside the body.
  • Consuming vitamin C enhances our immunity power.
  • It protects us from getting cold.
  • According to some beliefs, vitamin C helps to prevent cancer to some extent.

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Impact of Deficiency of Vitamin C:

  1. Deficiency of vitamin C damages the health of teeth and gums. Gums become blue, soft, start to bleed, and teeth start falling.
  2. The body becomes weak, skin becomes pale, bones and joints start paining and swelling.
  3. Wounds take time to heal.
  4. Body growth gets disrupted.
  5. Excessive deficiency of vitamin C causes Scurvy.

Symptoms of Scurvy:

  • Deformity of bones and teeth.
  • Osteoblast cells become inactive. Some of them converted into fibroblast.
  • Gums become spongy, swelling, and prone to bleeding.
  • Bones become fragile.
  • RBC count gets reduced.
  • Symptoms of anemia start to show.
  • The blood clotting process becomes slower.
  • The human body gets exposed to various diseases.
  • Normal reproduction ability gets disrupted.
  • Digestion of carbohydrates gets intruded.
  • Rashes on skin.
  • Bleeding stars inside the skin.
  • Slow healing of wounds.

This was all for today's article about vitamin C. Hopefully you guys have found it helpful. Stay tuned for the next post which is coming up very soon.

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Thank you for visiting and reading.
Love and care from Anny's Pen.
See you in the next blog.

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