Vitamin C Benefits

The benefits of Vitamin C, the diseases and illness it prevents and how it works to produce collagen.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a well-known vitamin that has received much publicity. It is one of the most important nutrients necessary for human life. The word vitamin comes from the combination of words: vital amine. Vitamins are organic molecules that function as catalysts for reactions in the human body. A catalyst is a substance allowing a chemical reaction to take place using less energy and time that it would take under normal situations. If a catalyst is missing, normal body functions start to break down and a person will be more susceptible to diseases and illnesses.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. Water soluble vitamins consumed in excess amounts are excreted in the urine and do not accumulate to toxic levels in the body. Vitamin C is stored in the liver too.

Most animals are able to produce their own vitamin C. Man and primates, however, have lost the ability to produce this vitamin. So have guinea pigs. Thus guinea pigs have been used for vitamin C experimentation for many years.

Vitamin C is important to all animals, including humans, as it is vital to the formation of collagen. Vitamin C also protects the fat-soluble Vitamins A and E as well as fatty acids from oxidation. Vitamin C prevents and cures the disease scurvy, and is beneficial in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia.

Collagen is the most abundant of the fibers contained in connective tissues of the human body. Connective tissues give our body form and supports the organs as well. How is Vitamin C involved in collagen formation?

When collagen is produced, a series of events occur inside the cell and also outside the cell. Vitamin C is active inside the cell, where it hydroxylates to two amino acids: proline and lysine. This process forms a precursor molecule called procollagen that is later packaged and modified into collagen outside the cell. Without the presence of Vitamin C, collagen production is disrupted, causing a wide variety of bodily problems.

Vitamin C deficiency causes the disease scurvy. Scurvy is rarely seen nowadays except in severe alcoholics. Consequences of survy disease include bleeding and inflamed gums, poor wound healing, loose teeth, pain in the joints, easy bruising, muscle wasting and other problems.

Taking fresh fruits and vegetables is a good way to prevent scurvy. Fruits rich in Vitamin C include oranges, limes and grapefruits. Vegetables rich in Vitamin C include tomatoes, green pepper, potatoes and many others.

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