Vitamin C - Overview, History, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is widely known as an essential nutrient for beauty. It is a water-soluble vitamin which is known as ascorbic acid in scientific terms. It is an essential vitamin that helps maintain the health of the skin and mucous membranes and has a powerful antioxidant effect.
A healthy level of vitamin C protects from scurvy and makes the skin firm, preventing blemishes, improving immunity and preventing colds, increasing resistance to stress and many more.
The human body is required to intake vitamin C from other sources. Many mammals can synthesise vitamin C from glucose in their bodies, but the human body cannot synthesise vitamin C because they lack the enzymes necessary for synthesis. Humans can find this vitamin with vitamin C name or ascorbic names. It is a scientific name and usually exists in the form of reduced L-ascorbic acid or oxidised L-dehydroascorbic acid.
Absorption of vitamin C
Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is an essential compound for the production of collagen, an essential protein for the bones and tendons. A lack of vitamin C absorption and a lack of vitamin C in the body means a lack of collagen synthesis resulting in weakened blood vessels and bleeding. This is scurvy. When the body consumes vitamin from a plant or animal source, it is absorbed by the upper part of the small intestine and transferred to the liver. It is transferred or distributed throughout the body by the blood from the liver. As said, humans do not produce vitamin C naturally in their bodies like pigs, and monkeys. We need to consume it to see its benefits for the skin and body.
Vitamin C is odourless, white and a bit sour. It is easily dissolved in the water and easily damaged by heat, air, etc. Hence, it is ideal to consume vitamin C only in raw form without cooking or heating for maximum absorption of vitamin C.
History of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is discovered as a substance that prevents “scurvy”. It is a disease which is caused by vitamin C Deficiency. In ancient times, about the 16th to 18th centuries, due to a lack of fresh ingredients, many sailors died from scurvy. Scurvy is a scary disease which causes the blood vessels throughout the body to become fragile, causing bleeding from the gums and internal organs, leading to death. It was a hilarious movement. In 1747, British naval physician James Lind discovered that scurvy could be prevented by having sailors eat citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons daily. Hence, a ton of crus fruits is provided to the sailor. Sailors start drinking lime juice and lemon juice every day to prevent scurvy. Likewise, citrus fruits rich in vitamin C are discovered to prevent scurvy. Well, in 1920, British chemist Drummond found the presence of vitamin C in citrus fruits which helps in scurvy.
Next in 1928, Hungarian scientist Alberto St. Gyorgy isolated a new sugar-like substance from the adrenal glands of cattle and named it hexuronic acid. During the same time, some scientists isolated vitamin C from lemons and found that it was the same substance as hexuronic acid. Hence, it is a confirmation of vitamin C. Day by day, the benefits of vitamin C are evolving and now its use is not limited to scurvy. Scientists perform thousands of studies and now it is used for skin, anaemia and many more.
Vitamin C Benefits
A lack of vitamin C causes many problems for the body. Know why vitamin C is important and the number of benefits it provides to the body. Here is a list-
Whitening Skin: Vitamin C is a typical vitamin known for its skin beauty effect. Due to ultraviolet rays, skin turns out to be the black pigmentation called melanin by the action of the enzyme called tyrosinase. Spots, freckles, etc are also due to melanin pigment. Vitamin C helps to prevent melanin pigmentation by inhibiting the action of tyrosinase and has the effect of maintaining translucent skin. Hence, it helps to get white skin.
Anti-ageing: Vitamin C is also known as an anti-ageing vitamin because it boosts the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is a beauty protein that provides elasticity and firmness to the skin cells. A lack of collagen in the mid-age causes wrinkles, and fine lines on the skin. To prevent wrinkles on the skin as well as reduce ageing signs, vitamin C is very important. It will boost the natural collagen production in the body.
Immune Enhancement: Vitamin C enhances immunity and makes it difficult to catch a cold or quickly cure a cold. White blood cells that fight pathogenic bacteria in the body are strengthened by vitamin C, while vitamin C itself fights pathogenic germs and boosts immunity. Additionally, vitamin C strengthens cells and generates collagen, which makes it more difficult for viruses like colds to enter the body. The generation of interferons, which have antiviral effects, is aided by vitamin C. The liver enzymes involved in drug metabolism are activated by vitamin C, which also improves detoxification.
Relieves stress: Vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and adrenaline. It helps to reduce the stress hormone and provides relief to the stress. Adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands when the human body experiences stress, raising blood pressure and blood sugar to prepare the body for defence. Since vitamin C is required for the production of adrenaline, stress consumes large amounts of vitamin C when it is needed to make up for the shortage. Stress is not just mental stress like pressure, tension, and anxiety. Stress-inducing variables include cold or heat, lack of sleep, noise, and smoking. Your need for vitamin C is much more than stress for the body.
Cataract Prevention: High antioxidants from vitamin C provide active oxygen and prevent cataracts. A cataract is a disease in which proteins in the lens of the eye degenerate, causing the originally clear lens to become cloudy. The regular use of vitamin C prevents the cause of cataracts or prevents cataracts from getting worse. Overall eye health is also improved by vitamin C. The powerful antioxidant increases blood circulation and reduces oxidative stress as well as prevents macular degeneration.
Prevent Anaemia: A deficiency of iron is a term for anaemia. Iron intake is necessary to prevent anaemia. For the proper absorption of iron, the body requires vitamin C. Vitamin C does not increase the iron or red bed cells or prevent anaemia. It just increases the absorption rate of iron which works for anaemia.
Weight reducer: Vitamin C is part of the carnitine production process. It is a molecule that transports fatty acids to the mitochondria where they are transformed into energy. It is involved in greater fat burning. Hence, vitamin C is somewhere to help to reduce weight or manage weight. As per the study, it is noted that obese people has low vitamin C level which might be low carnitine production process
Improve Memory: As said, vitamin C is essential for the production and release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in better memory, performance and learning. Memory development needs to have a healthy vitamin C in the body. The antioxidant and anti-inflammation from the vitamin C nervous system cells against free radical damage, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Hence, it is also effective in dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and related diseases.
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
The deficiency of vitamin C can be a health problem in many ways. Vitamin C deficiency causes many symptoms to the physical and mental state, which you can notice and improve with the right supplements.
- Hair Loss: Hair thinning and hair loss is a sign of a lack of vitamin C. This vitamin maintains the protein that gives strength to the hair.
- Recurring infections: People who have vitamin C deficiency tend to develop more infections. It weakens the immunity and unable to fight the infection-causing pathogens
- Mood Swing: A constant mood swing is a sign of vitamin C deficiency. It induces irritability, stress and other negative mental states
- Chronic Fatigue: A constant fatigue or feeling of tiredness can be a symptom of scurvy. Scurvy is a clear sign of vitamin C deficiency in the body.
- Difficult in wound healing: Proper oxygenation and cell repair system is disturbed by the lack of vitamin C. It decreases the natural healing power.
- Dry Skin: A sudden dry skin and wrinkles are signs of vitamin C deficiency. It lowers the collagen and elastin of the body.
Likewise, there are several symptoms on the hair, skin or body that start to appear when vitamin C is low in the body.
Vitamin C Food
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It is mainly available in fruits and vegetables. Are you worried about which food you should add to your diet to increase the vitamin C in the body naturally? Check a list of vitamin C food-
Vegetables like red bell peppers, sprouts, rape blossoms, cauliflower, bitter melon, cabbage, spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green tea, Kakadu plums, Acerola cherries, Guavas, Parsley, Mustard spinach, Kiwis, Lemon, Oranges, etc are famous vitamin C rich sources. Among all, citrus fruits contain the highest vitamin C level. A sour taste of fruit and vegetables is a sign of citrus in vitamin C food. Therefore, add a portion of food or beverages which is sour to your diet
- Red Chillies: 170 mg
- Brussels sprout (raw): 160
- Broccoli (raw):140
- Sweet potato:20
- Potatoes: 11
- Acerola: 1700
- Dried mango: 69
- Strawberry: 62
- Orange: 60
- Lemon: 50
Vitamin C Dosage
Since humans cannot produce vitamin C in their bodies, the recommended daily intake for adults is 80 mg per day. It is a fixed-dose by the FSSAI. A human should not consume more vitamin C to prevent adverse effects. Well, the dose varies from person to person as per their age and situation. Check the below list-
- Adult Men: 80mg
- Adult Women: 65mg
- Pregnant Women: 15mg
- Lactating Women: 50mg
- Infant: 20-30mg
- Children: 30-45mg
However, considering the amount of vitamin C intake, absorption, and excretion from the body comprehensively, the basic intake is from normal foods only. If vitamin C is consumed at once, the absorption rate is about 90%. But if it is consumed in overdose, the absorption rate will be disturbed and drop to 50%. The excess dose and lack of absorption will be excreted in the urine. Hence, having vitamin C more than the RDA value is not worth it. Instead, it is a loss for you.
Vitamin C Precaution
Vitamin C is the most famous vitamin out there. But it is important to take note of the precaution and warning points while using vitamin C. At first, the overdose of vitamin C is not a thing. Vitamin C is excreted in the urine when the body becomes saturated, so basically there is no upper intake limit. But when it is consumed in the body, the absorption rate is disturbed and causes gastrointestinal tract problems. Well, the health hazard is low. Still, the limit is also a concern to note. Especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is not safe for them to consume more than the limit. People who consume alcohol daily, mostly have a vitamin C deficiency. Hence, note if you are one then you need time to restore the healthy vitamin C level in the body.
A kidney patient and a cancer patient should consult a professional before consuming the vitamin C supplement. An overdose of vitamin C causes kidney stones and increases kidney problems.
Smoking and chewing tobacco decreases their vitamin C. If you are one, then you require more vitamin C or double than ordinary limit in your diet.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on Vitamin C
The dose of vitamin C is limited to 80mg per day. Do not exceed the dose of vitamin C in your daily routine for better results.
The right time to use vitamin c serum is at night only. Take 2-3 drops of serum and massage it on the face with your fingertips. Leave it overnight and rinse with cold water in the morning.
If you have vitamin C powder, you can prepare vitamin C serum at home. Mix 1 teaspoon of rose water with 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin powder. YOu can also add some glycerin too. Mix it well and apply it every day at night. Well, buying vitamin c serum is a good idea.
The chemical name of vitamin c is ascorbic acid.
Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Hungarian biochemist discovered vitamin C.
For an adult woman who is not pregnant or lactating, then 65mg per day is the right dose. For pregnant women, 15 mg is enough and for lactating women, 50mg works.
Consume vitamin C tablets twice a day after meals.
Nausea, weakness, heartburn, hair loss, dull skin, etc are the symptoms of vitamin c deficiency.
The consumption of 100g of oranges contains 5.02mg of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is great for women and babies. Add vitamin C supplements to the diet after consulting with a healthcare professional.
Vitamin C protects the body and skin from external sources. It gives youthful skin, a healthy heart, bones and cartilage.
Vitamin C is one of the important vitamins required by the body. It helps the immune system, skin health, eye health and many more.