Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and contributes to healthy bones, healthy teeth, healthy skin and blood vessels and a well-functioning nervous system.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and contributes to healthy bones, healthy teeth, healthy skin and blood vessels and a well-functioning nervous system. It is a popular supplement. This would prevent the common cold and boost your immune system. Does it really work that way? Read all about this vitamin here.
Vitamin C was discovered in the 18th century. Sailors at that time suffered from scurvy on long sea voyages. A disease with a fatal outcome. If they could drink the juice of citrus fruits in time, they could be cured and scurvy was even prevented. In 1927 the active ingredient in the juice was found: vitamin C. From 1934 it can also be synthetically imitated.
Function of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is best known as a pill against the common cold. I’ll go into more detail later on whether this really works. This vitamin has many different functions. For example, it is important for the proper development of processes in the tissues of, for example, blood vessels, bones and teeth. In addition, vitamin C acts as a catalyst in the oxidation processes in the cell. It is also important for the formation of white blood cells, adrenal hormones and hemoglobin in the bone marrow. Furthermore, it activates folic acid in our body and promotes the absorption of iron from our diet.
Sources of Vitamin C
Fresh vegetables and fresh fruits are the main sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits in particular contain a lot, but potatoes are also a source of this vitamin. The content of it quickly deteriorates with storage and preparation. This is because this vitamin oxidizes easily and dissolves in water. Therefore choose fresh leafy vegetables, cut the vegetables shortly before preparation, heat them as briefly as possible in little boiling water or eat them raw if possible. In addition, do not eat mashed potatoes too often, but rather whole potatoes. When pureeing, the vitamin is also quickly lost.
Consequences of a Vitamin C deficiency
A deficiency can have various consequences. For example, there can be a deficiency in the formation of collagen connective tissue and between tissue material. This causes teeth and molars to become loose and the gums can bleed. Capillaries can also allow blood to pass through, causing spontaneous bleeding in the skin and organs. This is the case with scurvy.
With young children, the growth of the skeleton and organs is inhibited. Furthermore, people with a deficiency have a risk of anemia due to insufficient formation of hemoglobin. The result is too little oxygen in the tissues, which in turn leads to fatigue.
The resistance to infections is reduced with a deficiency. This is because vitamin C is involved in the formation of leukocytes. Cells involved in the immune system. Finally, the adrenal glands, which need vitamin C to make their hormones, may enlarge.
Consequences of a surplus
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It is often thought that you pee them out when you have a surplus. That’s true, but you can still get complaints about it. More than 2 grams per day can cause intestinal complaints or diarrhea. In addition, it ensures an increased excretion of oxalic acid in the urine. Whether this leads to kidney stones is still unclear.
Should I supplement vitamin C?
As I mentioned earlier, this vitamin is best known for helping to recover faster from a cold. Remarkable, because in healthy people it does not reduce the risk of a cold. An exception to this are athletes. This can cut the risk of a cold in half.
While it may not reduce the risk of a cold in the average person, it can reduce its duration by 8-14%. For this purpose, supplemental vitamin C should be taken daily as a preventive measure or at the beginning of a cold. In studies, 200 – 2000 mg is often supplemented for this.
If you want to use a supplement, choose at least a dose lower than 2 grams per day to prevent intestinal complaints.
Does extra vitamin C have added value for athletes?
If you already eat enough fruit, it probably has little or no added value to take extra vitamin C. Recent research shows that this vitamin may help by suppressing oxidative stress after exercise due to vitamin C being an antioxidant. But this doesn’t seem to have a significant effect on your muscle soreness, recovery, and strength. For the time being, it therefore seems no added value for athletes to take extra vitamin C every day if you already eat at least 200 grams of fruit per day.