C - Ascorbic Acid Supports hair and nail growth by improving
circulation. Useful as treating dandruff. May aid in preventing hair loss.
C is one of the most ubiquitous vitamins ever discovered. Besides playing
a paramount role as an anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger, it has
been suggested to be an effective antiviral agent by some very respected
scientists. Although the antiviral properties of vitamin C remain the
subject of great debate in some circles, this water-soluble vitamin
remains one of the most popular and important vitamins. Vitamin C is
commonly found naturally in peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, melons,
broccoli, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip, and mustard
greens. The primary function of vitamin C is to assist in the production
of collagen, although it is rapidly becoming identified as a key player in
detoxifying the body from foreign substances. Although there is somewhat
limited documentation, other reported uses of vitamin C are healing wounds
and burns, accelerate healing after surgery, decreasing blood cholesterol,
reduce blood clotting, offer protection against cancer agents, and extend
life. Many of these reputed uses are highly speculative and lack the
proper scientific verification.
Vitamin C is perhaps the most popular vitamin among
the common nutrients and biochemicals. Because the vitamin is
water-soluble, it must be regularly replenished and is commonly found
in fresh fruits, especially in the citrus family that is dominated by
oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines. Vitamin C (commonly referred
to as ascorbic acid) is also abundant in green leafy vegetables.
Collectively, vitamins assist in the formation of a
wide spectrum of biochemicals including hormones, enzymes, proteins,
neurotransmitters, and the genetic materials RNA and DNA.
Soluble ascorbic acid is contained in the watery parts
of fruits and vegetables and represents one of the least chemically
stable molecules in the vitamin family. This weak acid is easily
destroyed by mild alkali solutions such as baking soda. Once ingested,
vitamin C is readily absorbed by the intestines and continues its
journey through the watery components tissues that make up the human
body, helping to build collagen protein while doubling as an
antioxidant along the way.
In its natural state, ascorbic acid appears in the
form of a white to yellowish crystal or powder. The chemical name
acid refers to L-ascorbic acid, the levorotatory isomer, and has
been widely synthesized as a supplement or food additive.
Scurvy is a condition manifested by inadequate amounts
of vitamin C in the diet, and the symptoms include swollen gums, loose
teeth, black-and-blue spots or open sores on the skin, and slow wound
healing. The disease was especially prevalent in seamen on long sea
voyages during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who primarily
ate nonperishable foods that lacked this essential vitamin.
Although there is no question that the biochemical is
essential to life, scientists are in considerable debate over the
extent of vitamin C's influence into such areas as lowering blood
cholesterol, combating viruses and the common cold, and protecting
against cancer-causing agents.
Some plants and animals are able to produce their own
ascorbic acid because they have a cascade of enzymes that can
transform glucose into ascorbic acid when needed. Interestingly,
somewhere in the chain of evolution, humans either lost or never
developed the enzymes that that can manufacture
vitamin C, and
therefore are dependent on dietary intake of ascorbic acid.
Ascorbic acid is a relatively fragile molecule and it
may be lost from foods during preparation, cooking, and/or storage. In
spite of the fact that vitamin C is easily destroyed, it has the
ability to preserve foods by virtue of its role as a reducing agent.
Many plants and most animals, including reptiles, do
not need to consume ascorbic acid rich foods and are instead
genetically programmed to produce enzymes that convert glucose into
vitamin C. Mammals, in particular, possess the L-gulonolactone oxidase
enzyme, enabling them to manufacture ascorbic acid from blood glucose
in a metabolic cascade of enzymatic action. Curiously, however, the
only way that humans, guinea pigs, and several primate species can
satisfy their ascorbic acid requirements is to obtain the vitamin in
their diets. As it happens, although humans have three essential
enzymes required to convert glucose into ascorbic acid, they lack the
fourth and final enzyme needed to complete the biochemical pathway.
Some scientists believe that naturally occurring
bioflavinoids increase the influence of ascorbic acid on good health.
Flavinoids are, in essence, plant pigments largely responsible for the
colors of many fruits and vegetables containing large quantities of
Increasing interest in nutritional supplements and
fortified foods has led to maximum intake indicators, which provide
general guidance about possible toxic levels to healthy people in
specific groupings of gender and age, called the Tolerable Upper
Intake Level or ULs. Food labels termed the Nutrition
Facts Panel, mandatory on all processed foodstuffs, must highlight
a product's content of ascorbic acid and other vitamins.
Recommended Dietary Allowances: Men = 90 mg; Women = 75
mg; Pregnant Women = 70 mg; Smokers = 125 mg
- Essential for healthy teeth, gums & Bones
- helps heal wounds, scar tissue, & Fractures
- prevents scurvy
- builds resistance to infection
- aids in the prevention & treatment of the common
- gives strength to blood vessels
- aids in the absorption of iron.
- It is required for the synthesis of collagen, the
intercellular "cement" which holds tissues together.
- It is also one of the major antioxidant nutrients.
- It prevents the conversion of nitrates (from tobacco
smoke, smog, bacon, lunch meats, & some vegetables) into
- According to Dr. Lines Pauling, the foremost
authority on Vitamin C, Vitamin C will decrease the risk of getting
certain cancers by 75%.
- soft & bleeding gums
- swollen or painful joints
- slow-healing wounds & fractures
- bruising, nosebleeds
- tooth decay
- loss of appetite
- muscular weakness
- skin hemorrhages
- capillary weakness
- impaired digestion