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A dash of lemon, as we say, not only makes the food appetizing but also provides us with the much needed Vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the body in many ways in the fight against harmful influences of the environment and is used for the body’s defense mechanism. With Vitamin C, there is more than what meets the eye or the tongue, shall we say. Let’s find out the benefits of vitamin C.
Why Does the Body Need Vitamin C? – Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin C is primarily known as a radical scavenger and antioxidant. It eliminates aggressive free radicals that arise in the body. It releases electrons and traps free radicals like reactive oxygen molecules, so it has antioxidative effects, I.e. it reduces oxidative damage in the body.
The antioxidant properties play an important role in the immune system. Besides, the organism needs vitamin C for numerous metabolic processes like rebuilding connective tissue, regulating oxygen supply and form certain messenger substances and hormones. Two other important effects of vitamin C are that it promotes the absorption of iron in the intestine and helps to make carcinogenic nitrogen compounds from food harmless.
Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen, the protein in the connective tissue, as well as for the formation of cartilage and bone tissue. One of the most visible benefits of Vitamin C is hair growth and maintenance. Also, vitamin C increases the absorption of calcium and amino acids, and it supports the formation of the blood vessels.
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The Daily Requirement of Vitamin C
The human body can neither produce vitamin C itself nor does it have a special vitamin C storage. That is why to avail the benefits of Vitamin C we have to regularly consume Vitamin C with food. A daily intake of 110 milligrams of vitamin C for men and 95 milligrams for women is recommended.
Depending on their age, children need less, whereas smokers need significantly more. During pregnancy, the recommended requirement increases to 105 milligrams per day from the fourth month and 125 milligrams a day during breastfeeding.
You can cover your daily needs with just half a red pepper and a glass of orange juice, consisting of approximately two freshly squeezed oranges. Broccoli, black currants, and berries are also rich in Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is very sensitive and can decompose through light and heat. It is best to eat fruit and vegetables fresh or keep them in the fridge to protect Vitamin C properties. Frozen food can contain more vitamin C than fresh goods that have been stored in the supermarket or at home for a few days.
What Happens if There is a Lack of Vitamin C? – Vitamin C Deficiency
Those who eat incorrectly or inadequately, or who suffer from chronic gastrointestinal diseases, maybe under-served with Vitamin C. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and smokers have an increased vitamin C requirement and should ensure adequate consumption. The body may also need more vitamin C after illnesses, operations, infections, and when stressed.
Symptoms of a Vitamin C Deficiency
Bleeding gums can occur with vitamin C deficiency. Doctors describe a strong vitamin C deficiency as scurvy. Seafarers, in particular, were previously affected when they had no fresh food for a long time. They suffered from bleeding on the skin and mucous membranes, wounds healed poorly and bleeding also occurred in muscles and internal organs.
If such a drastic deficiency occurs in babies or toddlers, one speaks of Barlow’s disease. The child’s growth and bone development are disturbed.
Side effects of Vitamin C
Up to one gram of vitamin C ingested per day is well tolerated. If you consume more than three grams per day, you may expect undesirable effects such as diarrhea and gastrointestinal complaints. Anyone who suffers from kidney damage, urinary or kidney stones or an iron metabolism disorder is more likely to develop side effects with an increased vitamin C intake.
Especially people who suffer from certain metabolic disorders or diseases of the urinary tract should, therefore, clarify the use of dietary supplements with the doctor beforehand.
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Vitamin C Tablets
People who are not able to consume enough Vitamin C through food can also opt for Vitamin C tablets. They contain enough Vitamin C to fulfill the daily requirements and keep you healthy. Some food supplements contain many other Vitamins along with vitamin C and can be included in your daily diet if your eating habits are inconsistent.