Vitamin C (symptoms and food sources)
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is a natural soluble vitamin present in our food and also added as dietary supplement. Vitamin C is an essential dietary component required for protein metabolism and the biosynthesis of collagen. Collagen plays an important role in wound healing as an essential component of connective tissue in the body.
Vitamin C also plays a vital role in immune function and enhances the absorption of non-heme iron (iron found in plant-based foods). It also acts as antioxidant in the body
Vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy and signs can appear within a month or more. Initial symptoms include inflammation of the gums, weakness, joint pain, fatigue, poor wound healing, loss of teeth and bleeding gums. When scurvy is left untreated, it can result to death.
Vegetables and fruits are the best food sources of ascorbic acid. Tomatoes and tomato juice, citrus fruits and potatoes are good contributors of vitamin C to our daily diet. Other good food sources are kiwifruit, strawberries, red and green peppers and brussels sprouts. Many of the fruits and vegetables that are best food sources of vitamin C are consumed raw. Vitamin C content of food may be reduced or destroyed by prolonged storage, heating or cooking.
Smokers and infants fed with boiled or evaporated milk stand the risk of vitamin C inadequacy.
People suffering from limited food variety, people who abuse alcohol or drugs and people suffering from mental disorder might not absorb sufficient vitamin C. Sufferers of chronic diseases like cancer might also be at risk of ascorbic acid inadequacy.
Excess vitamin C consumption has a very low toxicity and has no adverse effects as proven, though occasionally, one can complain of abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhoea and gastrointestinal discomfort. It is very important that you do not self diagnose vitamin C deficiency!
The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.