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Ascorbic acid, or otherwise known as Vitamin C, is a water soluble vitamin, (along with vitamin B), unlike vitamins A, D, E and K which are all fat soluble.
Is this of any relevance? You may be asking!
Well yes it is!
Within the body we have lots and lots of water, so it is pretty obvious that a vitamin that is "water soluble" will readily dissolve and be used by the body. Hence we really need a daily intake of vitamin C (and B for that matter).
The fat soluble vitamins can be stored within the body for a much longer time without being used straight away, so you needn't take these *every* day. Your body will use them slowly, by which time you are more than likely to have more of the vitamins stored already.
Seen as the water soluble vitamins are used near enough straight away they are generally considered to be "essential" vitamins. That means that the body can not make them itself. (Unlike guinea pigs). Yet another valid reason to take these everyday.
Just as a point of note, ascorbic acid means "without scurvy" - which makes sense really seen as the disease caused by a vitamin C deficiency!
~ How much do you need? ~
An adult (15 + years) needs 10 milligrams of vitamin C per day to prevent scurvy - just incase you think you may be at risk!
~ Where do you get it? ~ The best source of Vitamin C is pretty well known, the faithful orange! However for those among us who don't like oranges then most other fruits, mainly citrus fruits, contain vitamin C. Don't forget all the fruit juices now-a-days with "added vitamin C" and such like.
~ What if I don't eat any oranges? ~
Taking supplements is becomming more and more popular these days. Which is no bad thing really. Vitamin C tablets generally taste nice (assuming here that you like the taste of oranges!).
I used to be made to take a tablet most day's by my parents (I was always ill with one thing and another) so seen as Vitamin C helps fight off infection they thought it may help. I'm not sure whether it did or not - but they tasted nice so I didn't complain!
~ Whats so good about it? ~
Vitamin C is considered to be an "antioxidant" vitamin.
As a water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C is in a unique position to "scavenge" aqueous peroxyl radicals before these destructive substances have a chance to damage the lipids. It works along with vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant, and the enzyme glutathione peroxidase to stop free radical chain reactions.
That basically means it's a goody within the body!
Free radicals are highly reactive, like what you find up in the Stratosphere [apparantly!], which are all undergoing chemical reactions - which are thought to be reducing the ozone layer. (Except them up there are Chlorine radicals, not like those in your body, but never the less I thought i'd share that bit of information with you!)
Vitamin C can enhance the body's resistance to an assortment of diseases, including infectious disorders and many types of cancer. It strengthens and protects the immune system by stimulating the activity of antibodies and immune system cells such as phagocytes and neutrophils (neutrophils are basically a type of a phagocyte).
Vitamin C contributes to a variety of other biochemical functions. These include the biosynthesis of the amino acid carnitine and the catecholamines that regulate the nervous system. And, as if that wasn't enough vitamin C also helps the body to absorb iron and to break down histamine - the inflammatory component of many allergic reactions.
It hasn't yet been proven that supplementary vitamins have the same effect as natural vitamin C. (For example, although natural vitamin C has been proven to help reduce cancer [particularly of the mouth, colon, oesophagus and stomach] is hasn't been proven that supplementary vitamin C tablets do the same). However they can't do any harm!
hi.Although I found your review really informative and interesting, I felt that it would have been more helpful to me if you had included more of your own experiences of taking vit c and the effects it had on you.Found out a lot I didn't know so thankyou.
Calypte 08.10.2001 14:57
I thought you need to give guinea pigs vitamin c supplements? What do I know?! Good op, and I never knew all that - cheers!