Vitamin C Function
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that has many important functions in the body: Vitamin C:
• Helps produce collagen, a protein that holds bones and other tissues together
• Heals cuts and wounds
• Helps maintain bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels
• Helps form and repair red blood cells, bones, and other tissues
• Strengthens the immune system
• Helps the body absorb iron from plant foods
Because vitamin C is not stored in the body, you need to consume vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits each day.
Too little vitamin C can cause you to have bloody, swollen gums; bruise easily; or have wounds that don’t heal properly. A deficiency causes scurvy with symptoms such as anemia, soft bloody gums, and (in childhood) musculoskeletal problems. People who don’t consume enough vitamin C can also dry, rough skin and experience infections more often.
Certain conditions can increase the body’s need for vitamin C. these include
• Use of oral contraceptives and other drugs
• Growth (during childhood and pregnancy)
• Illness that causes fever and infection
Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort and increase the risk of kidney stones. Taking vitamin C supplements can interfere with tests for blood sugar level; this can be a concern for those with insulin resistance, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or other medical conditions.
Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet.
Anemia is a condition in which red blood cells or hemoglobin (proteins that carry oxygen in the body) are lower than normal.