Sunday, July 29, 2012

What's in a vitamin? (Vitamin C)

Vitamin C
Everyone's favorite vitamin has to be vitamin C (also referred to as ascorbic acid). Probably the most ubiquitously known reason for taking vitamin C is to help your immune system in the winter to fight off those pesky colds. However, this is not the most important reason your body needs vitamin C, in fact, its an after thought. Vitamin C actually plays a pivitol role in maintaining the different types of body tissues that keep you functioning as an intact human being: ligaments, gums, skin, tendons, blood vessels, even bone. Vitamin C is key to helping wounds heal and forming scar tissue. With that said, the affect vitamin C has on the common cold is lack luster. There is no evidence that vitamin C helps in preventing the common cold, and some studies show that it mildly reduces the duration of the illness, though other studies show no benefit. 

Vitamin C is not produced by the body nor is it stored in the body. It is solely gained from diet and supplementation. If you take too much vitamin C, your body will eliminate the extra that it does not use immediately. So, there is no harm in taking a regular vitamin C supplement if that is what you fancy, unless you are eating them like candy (which like candy, you might get some stomach upset). However, too little vitamin C can lead to a serious disease known as scurvy. Scurvy is characterized by anemia, bleeding gums and gingivitis, weak tooth enamel, nose bleeds, painful joints, inability to heal wounds, decreased ability to fight infections, and easy bruising. This is extremely rare in the United States. So as long as you are eating plenty of the foods listed below, you're getting enough vitamin C. 

Foods Rich in Vitamin C:
  • Guava
  • Red bell pepper, Green bell pepper
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges and Orange Juice
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Vegetable Juice
  • Raw Strawberries
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • Papaya
  • Kohlrabi
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomato Juice
  • Cauliflower
  • Pineapple
  • Kale
  • Mango
Another fun fact: Vitamin C helps you absorb iron and it is classified as an anti-oxidant. 

Where this info came from:

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