What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C, also known as antiscorbutic vitamin or ascorbic acid , is a water-soluble vitamin essential for development and growth. It also helps to repair tissues in any part of the body, forming collagen (scar tissue) in the case of wounds or correcting the deterioration in bones or teeth. Vitamin C could also help cure common colds .
It also works as an antioxidant , helping to prevent free radical damage . These free radicals are molecules that are produced when the body breaks down food or when exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. They are the cause of aging, and can be factors that lead to diseases such as cancer , heart disease or arthritis .
Sources of vitamin C
The fruits and vegetables are the largest source of vitamin C . Among the fruits that contain a greater quantity, we find citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, watermelon or melon. For its part, some of the vegetables with the highest amount of vitamin C are broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, spinach, white potato or tomatoes.
Vitamin C can also be found in various vitamin supplements , including multivitamins , although it is also often found individually.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C varies by age and gender:
- Up to 6 months: 40 mg.
- From 7 to 12 months: 50 mg.
- From 1 to 3 years: 15 mg.
- From 4 to 8 years: 25 mg.
- From 9 to 13 years: 45 mg.
- Men ages 14 to 18: 75 mg.
- Women 14 to 18 years: 65 mg.
- Men over 18 years: 90 mg.
- Women over 18 years: 75 mg.
Benefits of vitamin C
Vitamin C prevents scurvy and would also be effective in preventing some types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases .
There are several types of cancer that could be prevented if kept high in vitamin C diet gained through fruits and vegetables, such as the colon cancer , the lung cancer or breast cancer . However, once the cancer is under treatment, the efficacy of vitamin C has not been proven. In the same way, cardiovascular diseases tend to be less frequent in those whose dose of vitamin C is recommended, although it has not been scientifically proven.
Vitamin C has been shown to be effective against scurvy , which is why it receives its name as “antiscorbutic vitamin.” Although this disease is rare today, it can be contracted by those who consume little or no vitamin C for several days. Its symptoms are fatigue, inflammation of the gums, spots on the skin or pain in the joints, among others. If scurvy is not treated in time, it can be fatal.
As a popular belief, it is often said that vitamin C also works as a remedy to cure common colds . However, not all experts agree on the real effectiveness of this remedy. What is certain is that vitamin C can help reduce the duration of the cold , although it all depends on the living conditions of each person. In any case, vitamin C does not prevent you from catching a cold , but it can help you recover.
The excess vitamin C can be harmful because it can cause diarrhea , nausea and pain . In addition, it can interfere negatively if it is taken at the same time as other antioxidants or in cancer treatments.