History of vitamin C
The symptoms of vitamin C deficiency were already known as early as 1,500 BCE and were described by Aristotle. Scurvy mainly reached long-distance sailors, deprived of fruits and vegetables for long periods. Its outcome was often fatal until the XVIII century, during which time it was discovered that the consumption of lemon prevented this disease.
In 1928, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi isolated vitamin C, which he named “antiscorbutic”, or ascorbic acid. This discovery earned him a Nobel Prize in 1938. It was also the year of the first synthesis of a vitamin for commercial purposes.
Vitamin C is probably the most consumed supplement in the West, but its track record includes several controversies. In 1960, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling argued that high doses (2 g and more per day) of Vit-C could treat colds and cancer. Much research later, these two claims are still disputed.
The essentials about vitamin C
Mainly provided by fruits and vegetables, vitamin C is sensitive to cooking and air, but freezing causes very little loss.
Useful for both adults and children, vitamin C is mainly known to help reduce fatigue and participate in the body’s defenses (immune system).
|Foods rich in vitamin C, per 100 g*||Vitamin C content|
|Fresh cherry||9 mg|
|Fresh blackcurrant||186 mg|
|Swallow appertized, drained||180 mg|
|Raw red pepper||176 mg|
|Fresh parsley||210 mg|
|Pure orange juice squeezed, pasteurized||36.8 mg|
|Raw green pepper||101 mg|
|Cooked broccoli||54.4 mg|
|Cooked cauliflower||35.6 mg|
|Cooked Brussels sprouts||61 mg|
|Cooked spinach||8.9 mg|
|Appertized, drained asparagus||15.8 mg|
|Cooked calf’s liver||23 mg|
|Cooked peas||15.5 mg|
|Raw tomato||16.7 mg|
|Boiled potatoes||11.1 mg|
|Cooked green beans||8.57 mg|
|Cooked leek||5.6 mg|
|Fresh apricot||5.3 mg|
|Cooked artichoke||5.5 mg|
|Whole milk yogurt, plain||0.2 mg|
Learn more about vitamin C
- Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is water-soluble.
- It is made by plants and most animals except humans.
- It is necessary for children and adults to consume it daily, especially since vitamin C is not stored by the body.
- Vitamin C is mainly contained in fruits and vegetables.
- Ascorbic acid is sensitive to air, heat (destroyed at 190°C) and light. Freezing does not result in any loss.
- Vitamin C disappears as plants wilt. It is therefore important to consume fresh fruits and vegetables quickly to keep all their vitamin C.
Roles of vitamin C
Vitamin C contributes to the normal formation of collagen to ensure the normal functioning of blood vessels, bones, gums, teeth, cartilage and skin. It also increases iron absorption.
It participates in the proper functioning of the body’s defenses (immune system).
It plays a role in the functioning of the nervous system and psychological functions.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect cells from oxidative stress.
This vitamin helps reduce fatigue.
Sources of vitamin C
The human body cannot produce vitamin C, as we have said before, so it is necessary to get it with food. The most effective way to do this is to balance your diet to consume the right amount of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Excellent sources of vitamin C are:
- citrus fruits, for example, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc.;
- green and red peppers;
- broccoli and Brussels sprouts;
- berries, especially valuable blueberries,cranberries.
Try to consume as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, as their treatment can reduce the amount of vitamin C by as much as 40 percent. True, the amount of vitamin C begins to decrease as soon as the crop is harvested.
What is the best form of vitamin C?
The best form of vitamin C is L-(+)-ascorbic acid, which is the form found in fruits and vegetables. This natural form, L-(+)-ascorbic acid, is also produced synthetically from a plant base, thanks to a biotechnological process of double fermentation. Both derived from glucose, these two molecules are “bio-identical”, that is to say that they have the same molecular form, they are assimilated in the same way by the body, and produce the same effects.
What are the different forms of vitamin C?
There are several forms of vitamin C, L-(+)-ascorbic acid on the one hand, and “Vit-C salts” on the other hand.L-(+)-ascorbic acidis the natural form of vitamin C, the one found in fruits and vegetables. Its absorption is mainly in the stomach through its mucosa where it joins the bloodstream. Vitamin C salts are mineral ascorbates that are not natural forms of vitamin C, the best known of which are sodium, calcium, and potassiumascorbate. These molecules, which have the same vitamin properties as Vit-C, are widely used for their antioxidant property, as preservatives, in the food industry.
Indeed, they have the advantage of having a neutral pH, unlike the natural form of vitamin C which is acidic. Thus, the presence of a mineral in the composition of ascorbates aims to neutralize the acidity ofL-(+)-ascorbic acid. As a result, these forms of Vit-C are absorbed through the intestinal tract to reach the bloodstream.
Vitamin C deficiency
Severe vitamin C deficiency leads to a condition called scurvy, which is now extremely rare in developed countries.
If the body began to decrease in vitamin C, you would feel the following symptoms:
- rapidly appearing bruises;
- dryness of the skin orhairloss;
- swelling or bleeding gums;
- frequent blood flow from the nose;
- slowly healing wounds.
Some factors increase the risk of vitamin C deficiency. For example, smoking promotes a faster oxidation process and the formation of free radicals, so smokers are recommended to take an additional 35 mg of vitamin C per day.
Also, dieters do not receive a lot of vitamins and minerals or suffer from diseases of the digestive system – they should also take vitamin C additionally.
Vitamin C requirements
How much vitamin C to consume? Men are recommended to consume at least90 mg, and women75 mgper day. However, smokers, people who experience stress and a lot of negative emotions, and women who do not need much more vitamin C. Since after smoking one cigarette, the body loses 25 mg of Vit-C. And due to the use of medications and the harmful effects of the environment, it would be much more needed, so specialists do not agree on how much of this vitamin should be consumed specifically in order to maintain good health, but in order to achieve optimal health, you should not exceed 2000 mg (2g) per day.
Table of ANC (Recommended Dietary Intakes) for vitamin C:
|Age / State||ANC vitamin C|
|Children 1 to 3 years||60 mg|
|Children 4 to 12 years||75 to 100 mg|
|Adolescents 13 to 19 years||110 mg|
|Pregnant women||120 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||130 mg|
How much vitamin C per day?
In Europe, the dietary reference values for vitamin C are 110mg per day per adult. It is recommended to consume fruits and vegetables to achieve this minimum value. Vitamin C supplementation can help achieve them but does not replace a rich, healthy, varied diet. A balanced diet, source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, is indeed the best way to promote good health.
what vitamin c good for?
Vitamin C is needed for collagen synthesis, which supports skin integrity as you age. Studies have found that vitamin C reduces sun damage to the skin, lessening wrinkling, dryness and discoloration and improving its overall appearance.
The benefits of vitamin C
Vitamin c benefits: Products meeting these criteria may claim to contribute to:
- the normal formation ofcollagennecessary for the normal functioning of blood vessels, bones, cartilage, skin, teeth and gums
- normal energy metabolism
- normal functioning of the nervous system
- normal mental functions
- normal functioning of the immune system
- fatigue reduction
- the regeneration of vitamin E in its reduced form
- digestive absorption of iron
- the protection of cells against free radicals
Colds and flu. Studies involving physically active individuals found that high doses of vitamin C reduced the occurrence of colds and the duration of diseases by as much as 50 percent. But other studies conducted did not find significant links.
Absorption of iron. When taking vitamin C in combination with iron, the absorption of the latter is much better.
Blood pressure and heart activity. There is evidence that Vit-C can help reduce the accumulation of fat on the walls of the arteries and thus prevent the associated cardiovascular diseases.
The appearance of the skin. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production in the skin, and also potentially reduces the damage to theskin caused by ultraviolet sunlight. This vitamin is often used to prevent early aging processes, skin pigmentation.
Joint function. Vitamin C is very important for the production of collagen in the articular cartilage, and therefore for protection against “wear” of the joints. It helpsthe jointsto remain flexible, elastic and protect against age-related joint diseases.
Benefits for smokers. Chemicals contained in cigarette smoke damage the DNA of cells, cause inflammation, increase the damage of free radicals. There are several studies that suggest that vitamin C can help reduce the risk of inflammation and the negative effects of toxins. One study showed that the benefits for smokers were observed when taking vitamin C at a dose of 2,000 mg per day for 12 weeks.
Asthma. Histamine contributes to the appearance of asthma symptoms. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, so it can help to slightly alleviate the symptoms of asthma by blocking the effects of histamine.
Vision. The benefits of vitamin C are also discussed when it comes to vision. Age-related macular degeneration is one of the more common causes of loss of vision. The antioxidant effect of vitamin C can help alleviate this problem and improve blood circulation in the eye area. Studies have also revealed that people with cataracts have low levels of Vit-C in the body.
Vitamin C powder, tablet, and liposomal – What’s the difference?
Chewable vitamin C tablets, or effervescent, as well as liposomal vitamin C (made up of lipids) contain additives. Indeed, one tablet can contain up to 3 grams, or more, like some forms of liposomal vitamin C. This is not the case with pure vitamin C powder in its natural form, L-(+)-ascorbic acid.
Unlike other forms, ascorbic acid powder perfectly meets the requirement of naturalness: no excipient, no sugar, no coloring, no additives. However, L-(+)-ascorbic acid powder, due to its acidic pH, should be avoided if a person suffers from stomach ulcer or gastritis. Sodium ascorbate will then be a good alternative. However, if you choose to supplement with this form of Vit-C, salt intake should be monitored due to its presence in the form of sodium.
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