Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Among its benefits include protecting the body against immune deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal problems, eye diseases and even skin.
How was Vitamin C discovered?
In 1912, Polish biochemist Casimir Funk developed the concept of vitamins. Between 1928 and 1933, two independent teams, made up of the Hungarian researcher Albert Szent György and the American researcher Joseph L. Sviberly, on the one hand, and American researchers Charles Glen King and WA Waugh, on the other hand, isolate vitamin C hexuronic). Hexuronic acid is then referred to as ascorbic acid, formally recognizing the antiscorbutic nature of the compound. In 1937, researcher Albert Szent György received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for this discovery.
Medicinal use of vitamin C dates back to the 18th century. Scorbut, the disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, was a common problem, especially among sailors and sailors, estimates that more than 2 million of them were affected. In 1747, James Lind, a Scottish physician, made an experiment to treat scurvy and found that only oranges and lemons alleviated the symptoms of the disease.
From 1928 to 1933, a team of Hungarian researchers, Joseph L. Svirbely, Albert Szent-Györgyi and American researcher Charles Glen Kind first isolated vitamin C and named it ascorbic acid. Since then, vitamin C has been used not only in treating scurvy but also in improving immunity, flu and cold symptoms, and as a supplement to protect the whole organism.
What effects does Vitamin C have on our body?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that prevents the action of free radicals (compounds resulting from oxidation processes, but also from contact with agents or pollutants) on the body. Accumulation of free radicals in the body is dangerous over time as it is one of the factors contributing to aging, but also to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer.
We need vitamin C and synthesize the most important neurohormones: noradrenaline, adrenaline, dopamine, produced in the nervous system or in the adrenal glands. Some hormonal imbalances may also indicate a deficiency of vitamin C because it stimulates and protects the pituitary gland, which secretes the hormones responsible for sexuality, psychosis, growth and functioning of the thyroid.
Vitamin C is found in high concentrations in the brain, leukocytes, eyes, adrenal glands, liver, thyroid, mucous membrane of the small intestine or in the spleen. They have vitamin C concentrations of 10 to 50 times greater than those in plasma, red blood cells or saliva. Therefore, when a vitamin C deficiency occurs, these are the first organs affected.
Benefits of Vitamin C
1. It has a repair effect
Because it helps to restore tissues by stimulating collagen production, vitamin C is effective in scarring and healing wounds suffered from burns, surgery, cuts or ultraviolet exposure. Many lotions or commercial solutions contain this ingredient with skin repair properties.
2. Fight against cancer
Scientists have found that high consumption of vitamin C reduces the risk of cancer occurring in the lungs, vocal cords, throat and mouth, colon, stomach and esophagus. Vitamin C is also beneficial for people who make chemo and radiotherapy, reducing their toxic effects on the body.
Deficiency of vitamin C is one of the factors contributing to the development of diabetes. Therefore, vitamin C supplements are beneficial to diabetics, because it helps them to process insulin and glucose more easily, regulating the level of blood sugar, according to Atkins.com.
4. Prevents heart disease
Studies show that vitamin C helps to dilate blood vessels, reduce the risk of blood clots and lower cholesterol levels, which improves blood circulation and contributes actively to maintaining heart health.
5. Regulates blood pressure
Vitamin C helps reduce the risk of brain damage, because it keeps blood pressure in normal parameters, but also because it protects the body against free radicals, one of the factors that predispose to brain attacks. Vitamin C reduces tension for people with problems, and can help prevent premature births, says a study by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Ascorbic acid relieves symptoms of asthma and protects the body against pollution, which can often cause similar reactions to asthma or bronchitis. Studies show that regular consumption of vitamin C can reduce asthma crises and improve respiratory system activity.
What foods contain the highest amount of vitamin C?
Some foods, especially green fruits and vegetables, are rich in vitamin C, and their consumption can provide you with a healthy dose of this vitamin. Orange, red pepper, chilli peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit, guava, kiwi and green pepper are the foods that contain the highest doses of vitamin C. And peas, tomatoes, papaya, melons, pineapple or fruit of the forest have high doses of vitamin C, so a diet based on the consumption of as many fruits and vegetables in these categories ensures an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.
Why is it important to consume Vitamin C in the winter?
In the winter, our immune system is weaker, and low consumption of vegetables and fruits also leads to a decrease in vitamin C deposits in the body. Immunity is closely related to vitamin D, which our body synthesizes in sunlight. As in winter we do not have as much sun as in warmer months, the immunity of the body is naturally lower. This is why we are more vulnerable to viruses and influenza and cold bacteria. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and, even if it does not cure the colds, is effective in treating the symptoms.