What is vitamin C sounds like a pretty basic question, but the answer is much more ...
by Dime Alexi, a registered nurse and a free-lance writer whose specialties include health issues
Vitamins are essential micronutrients without which we will be unhealthy. And when these micronutrients are being discussed in any gathering, many will still ask, "What is Vitamin C?" This vitamin, after all, is a staple presence in many a nutritional supplements information panel for a multivitamin product.
Vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient for good health in so many ways. For one thing, it acts an antioxidant, which means that ascorbic acid fights oxidative stress brought by the action of free radicals. In the process, aging can be delayed significantly with sufficient levels of vitamin C with the assumption that other healthy lifestyle factors are in place.
For another thing, ascorbic acid is a cofactor in 8 enzymatic reactions, as of the last count. One of these reactions involves collagen synthesis that, in the severe lack or total absence of Vitamin C, results to scurvy.
So, if you are to ask, "What is Vitamin C?" the answer will be as simple as it is a vitamin that the human body needs in order to become healthy in many aspects. The knowledge about the chemical composition, reaction and structure of ascorbic acid can best be left with the scientists. Your main concern is how Vitamin C can make you healthy.
But first a few words of caution must be said. If you have anemia, diabetes and kidney stones as well as when you are breastfeeding and pregnant, you have to inform the doctor about these conditions. This is because ascorbic acid consumption must be strictly controlled or totally avoided in any of these instances obviously for health reasons.
You must also avoid taking megadoses of ascorbic acid. Like any other vitamin and minerals, too much of Vitamin C is toxic with side effects including severe gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea as well as increased risks for the development of kidney stones.
So, the next time you go asking "What is Vitamin C?" be sure to ask about its recommended doses as well. You want to benefit from its health advantages, not suffer from its abuse.
With that being said, we highly recommend following the United States government's recommended daily allowance. Well, of course, the quantity will vary from one individual to the next depending on health condition, age and gender. For healthy individuals, the recommended daily dosages are (both genders have upper tolerable limits of 2,000 mg per day):
Of course, your all-important question of "What is Vitamin C?" will also touch on its natural food sources. The best natural food sources are fruits and vegetables like oranges, mandarins, cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, cantaloupe and tomatoes. Of course, supplements are also good sources although a healthy diet must still be present.
So, what is Vitamin C? Simply put, it's an essential vitamin that you must have in your life and in your body if you wish to live long and live healthy.
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