Nutrition and Information Guide: Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid

About the vitamin c or ascorbic acid, nutritional information guide, uses, effects of deficiency, good sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Use in the Body: Primary function is to maintain collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of skin, ligaments, and bones. Helps heal wounds, form scar tissue, and mend fractures. Gives strength to blood vessels, thus preventing hemorrhaging. Aids in resisting some types of virus and bacterial infections. Aids in the absorption of iron.

Deficiency May Lead to: Bleeding, swollen or painful gums, swollen or painful joints, slow healing of wounds and fractures, tendency to bruise or bleed, lowered resistance to infection. Prolonged deficiency can lead to scurvy and finally death.

Notes: Vitamin C content of a fruit depends greatly upon how much sun it receives--the more the better. Body's need is increased by periods of stress such as anxiety, infection, injury, surgery, burns, or fatigue. Hot weather and air pollution increase the need for C, as does the use of aspirin and cigarette smoking. Most easily destroyed of all vitamins--by light, heat, air, prolonged storage, copper and iron utensils, alkali such as baking soda, and prolonged cooking. Foods containing vitamin C should be kept in the refrigerator.

Best Sources: Acerola cherries, hot and sweet peppers, guavas, kale, parsley, collard greens, turnip greens, dock (sorrel), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, persimmons, strawberries, papaya, lemons, oranges, most fruits and vegetables.

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