Vitamin C is chemically L-Ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is available in two bioactive forms: ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid. Only the L-isomer of ascorbic acid is known to exhibit potential Physiological action. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin which supports normal growth and development. Vitamin C is vital nutrients for our body. Human body can not produce and store Vitamin C, so it is essential to take adequate daily intake of Vitamin C in the diet. It occurs naturally in some foods, fruits like citrus fruit (oranges, kivi, guava, grapefruits), papaya, strawberries, amla and vegetables (capsicum, cauliflower, broccoli). Supplements are also available in the market. (A Healthy and balanced diet can provide you sufficient Vitamin C).
Deficiency of Vitamin C:- Generally severe deficiency of this Vitamin is uncommon. Some noticeable symptoms are
- Dry, damaged and rough skin
- Weakening of joints with pain and swelling
- Lowered wound healing capacity
- Poor immunity
Scurvy, is a disease due to deficiency of Vitamin C. Symptoms can not observed for months, bleeding gum, brushing, weakness are the most common symptoms of Scurvy.
Physiological functions of Vitamin C
Ascorbic acid exhibits significant physiological functions. Some of them are listed hereunder,
- Antioxidant:- vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, repairs tissue and prevent body from inflammation and oxidation.
- Vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen (abundant protein in mammals and main constituent of various connective tissues), L-carnitine, and enzymatic production of some neurotransmitters.
- Metabolism:- Vitamin C also helps in the metabolism of some protein.
- As an anticancer agent
- Strengthening of immune immune system:- People with sufficient Vitamin C are able to fight with infectious agents.
- Antihypertensive agent- Vitamin C shows vasodilatory effect hence helps in high blood pressure.
- It helps in absorption of iron, and iron is important constituent of hemoglobin.
- Bone formation
Is megadose of Vitamin C okay?
The FDA recommended daily intake for Vitamin C, for adults is 65 to 90 milligrams and can be extended up to 2000 mg a day. Although excessive amount of Vitamin C is not that harmful for your body. But gastrointestinal upset is most commonly observed symptom along with abdominal cramps, insomnia, headache and heartburn.
High dose of is also used cancer treatment, Although, it is controversial.
Kidney stone is observed on high intake of Vitamin C.
Generally, this Vitamin is safe, when you get it from foods than supplements.
All in all
Vitamin C is generally safe for all if taken through food. Excessive intake is only possible when you are taking supplements. There are no severe side effects of overdose (above 2000 mg). Kidney stone, digestive system related problems ( nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea), and cardiovascular disorders like high blood pressure are also observed in women after menopause but yet sufficient studies have to be done to believe this.
You do not need to take supplements if you are not Vitamin C deficient. If any symptoms or discomfort you are facing while taking supplements, make sure to consult a doctor.