Vitamin C

An essential nutrient found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The body requires vitamin C to form and maintain bones, blood vessels, and skin. Like other vitamins, vitamin C is an organic compound. An organic compound is a substance that (1) occurs in living things, or organisms (hence, the word "organic") and (2) contains the elements carbon and oxygen (hence, the word "compound," meaning combination of elements). Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid.  Type of Vitamin Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, one that cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts. It must be replenished daily. Purpose and Benefits Vitamin C helps produce collagen, a protein needed to develop and maintain healthy teeth, bones, gums, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels. Vitamin C also does the following: 1. Promotes the healing of cuts, abrasions and wounds. 2. Helps fight infections. 3. Inhibits conversion of irritants in smog, tobacco smoke, and certain foods into cancer-causing substances. 4. Appears to dilate (widen, enlarge) blood vessels and thereby lessen the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. 5. Helps regulate cholesterol levels. 6. Prevents the development of scurvy, a disease characterized by weakness, fatigue, anemia, swollen joints, bleeding gums and loose teeth. Scurvy was common aboard ships in earlier times because crews traveled for long periods without eating fresh vegetables or fruit. Many sailors died of the disease. Scurvy is rare today. 7. Appears to lower the risk of developing cataracts, clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision. 8. May help protect diabetics against deterioration of nerves, eyes and kidneys. 9. May inhibit the development of colds and decrease the intensity of cold symptoms. (This is controversial.) 10. Aids iron absorption. 11. May reduce levels of lead in the blood. Food Sources Fruits: oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines, pears, bananas, melons, papayas, strawberries, mangos, blackberries, blueberries, kiwis, pineapples, watermelons, raspberries, cranberries, cantaloupes, rose hips, acerola cherries. Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, green peppers, red peppers, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, peas, turnips, turnip greens, onions, corn, pumpkins, carrots, parsley, sauerkraut. Herbs: garlic, watercress. Other sources: fish and milk (occurs in small amounts). Preservation Fruits and vegetables lose vitamin C quickly, especially when exposed to heat. For this reason, fruits and vegetables should not be cooked in water. Rather, they should be cooked over water—for example, in a double boiler. Pots should not contain copper. Copper can also destroy vitamin C. Canned foods generally preserve vitamin C until opened.

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vitamin C n a water-soluble vitamin C6H8O6 found in plants and esp. in fruits and leafy vegetables or made synthetically and used in the prevention and treatment of scurvy and as an antioxidant for foods called also ascorbic acid

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a water-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties that is essential in maintaining healthy connective tissues and the integrity of cell walls. It is necessary for the synthesis of collagen. A deficiency of vitamin C leads to scurvy. The recommended daily intake is 30 mg for an adult; rich sources are citrus fruits and vegetables (the main source of the vitamin in the British diet is potatoes).

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ascorbic acid.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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