Vitamin C health

The vitamin C deficiency disease, scurvy, was recognized at least 3000 years ago but it was not until the 16th century that people realized that certain fruits and vegetables could prevent or cure the disease. In the late 18th century, English sailors carried limes on long voyages to ward off scurvy, causing them to be nicknamed "limeys". In 1928 vitamin C was isolated and shown to be the substance necessary to prevent and cure scurvy. In its pure form, vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid, is a water soluble white powder. Humans are among the few species that cannot manufacture vitamin C and must obtain it from food.


Vitamin C is involved in hundreds of vital biological processes in the body.

Collagen and connective tissue

The main role of vitamin C is in the manufacture of collagen. This protein forms the basis of connective tissue, the most abundant tissue in the body, and acts as a cementing substance between cells. It helps support and protect blood vessels, bones, joints, organs and muscles, and forms a sizable proportion of skin, tendons, the cornea of the eye, ligaments, cartilage, teeth and bone. Collagen forms a protective barrier against infection and disease, and promotes healing of wounds, fractures and bruises.

Vitamin C healthImmune system

Vitamin C is critical to immune function as it is involved in antibody production and white blood cell function and activity. Other functions include the production of interferon, an antiviral and anticancer substance. Vitamin C requirements are raised when the immune system is under stress.

Antioxidant properties

Vitamin C is a powerful water soluble antioxidant and plays a vital role in protecting against oxidative damage. It neutralizes potentially harmful reactions in the watery parts of the body, such as the blood and the fluid inside and surrounding cells. It also helps protect LDL cholesterol against free radical damage. This antioxidant action helps to protect against cancer, the effects of aging, heart disease, and an array of other health problems.


Vitamin C is important in the synthesis of adrenal hormones and is depleted from the adrenal glands in times of stress.

Nervous system

Vitamin C plays a role in the manufacture of neurotransmitters. It is necessary tor the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, and of tyrosine to dopamine and adrenaline.

Other functions

Vitamin C is involved in the manufacture of carnitine, a substance necessary for the production of energy from fatty acids in cells, especially cardiac and skeletal muscle cells. Vitamin C is necessary for the activity of the enzyme system which metabolizes drugs in the body. It is also necessary for iron absorption and plays a role in the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids for excretion. Vitamin C may also affect prostaglandin metabolism.

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Other Vitamins:

Vitamin A
Beta carotene
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Pantothenic acid
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Vitamin K