Vitamin C, also known as L-Ascorbic or L-Ascorbate acid is one of the vital vitamins required by all living organisms. Unlike other species, humans cannot manufacture Vitamin C inside their bodies and hence it is vital for us to eat a diet which is a rich source of this Vitamin.
Deficiency of Vitamin C causes a myriad of problems in the body, the chief among them being a condition known as Scurvy. Since Vitamin C is water soluble it is continuously diluted and excreted from the body and hence we require an almost incessant supply of this Vitamin. Vitamin C was first isolated in 1928 by the nobel-prize winner, biochemist, Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.
Vitamin C is required by the human body to maintain good health of the tissues in all parts of the body. One of the main uses of Vitamin C in the human body is for the formation of the protein, Collagen, which is needed for the formation of ligaments, tissues, skin and blood vessels.
Vitamin C functions as an anti-oxidant which aids in getting rid of the toxins produced in the body and maintains the oxidation balance inside the human body. The health of our hair, skin and nails are also maintained because of Vitamin C. It is also helpful in keeping diseases like common cold at bay, healing of surgical, burn and other wounds, keeping allergies at bay, providing immunity to the body, preventing cancer because of its anti-oxidizing property etc. Low vitamin C levels easily decrease the immune system weak leading to the easy penetration of disease causing germs and bacteria.
Deficiency of this Vitamin leads to cataract problem because the lens of the eye needs constant supply of vitamin C and when the body refuses to give that, it leads to cataract. Heart diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure can also be kept in check because of the anti-oxidizing property of this wonder Vitamin. The cholesterol level in the body is also kept in check from rising by this Vitamin.
Sources of Vitamin C include all the citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, tangerines, limes, papayas and berries among others. Among the vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, peas etc are the richest sources of Vitamin C and the others contain it in small doses. Even though meat does not contain Vitamin C, however liver has been found to contain some traces. Although there are Vitamin C pills and supplements available in the market, it is best to ingest it in its natural and varied forms as it is a water soluble vitamin.
Although vitamin C generally doesn’t cause harm because of its tendency to get flushed out of the system however there are still some side effects in dire cases. Supplements of this Vitamin have been known to have a diuretic effect. High doses of vitamin C can cause gas, acidity, diarrhea etc. Overdose of Vitamin C might also lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches and drowsiness. It is always beneficial to take any supplements in a doctor’s supervision.