Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin.
Vitamin C is best known for
its antioxidant properties and its possible role in the prevention of
certain chronic degenerative disorders. In fact, ascorbic acid may be the
most important water-soluble antioxidant in the body. Many of the
nutrients important to human health can be destroyed by oxidation. Vitamin
C protects them from oxidation by being oxidized itself. In the blood,
Vitamin C protects sensitive blood constituents from oxidation, and helps
to protect Vitamin E. Red blood cells are thought to recycle the "used"
Vitamin C back into the active form to conserve the supply. The
antioxidant roles of Vitamin C are the focus of extensive study,
especially in relation to disease prevention. Vitamin C is also required
for the production and maintenance of collagen, a protein substance that
forms the base for all connective tissues in the body: bones, teeth, skin
and tendons. Collagen forms the scar tissue that heals wounds, the
reinforcing structure that mends fractures, and the supporting material of
capillaries that help prevent or heal bruises. Vitamin C is also known to
help enhance the immune response to protect against infection, and is
important to the production of thyroxine, the hormone that regulates basal
metabolic rate and body temperature, and thus is also important in weight
control, metabolism, and overall healthy body weight.
Recommended Dietary Allowances: Men = 90 mg; Women = 75 mg; Pregnant Women = 70 mg; Smokers = 125 mgIMPORTANCE: