15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Vitamin C
Vitamin C: necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissue. It’s one of many powerful antioxidants that protect us from harmful free radicals, strengthens our immune system and maintains overall optimal health for us. Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention and for great reasons.
Here are 12 fascinating facts about vitamin C.
In 1928, Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi isolated hexuronic acid from the adrenal gland and the substance was eventually deemed as vitamin C. Albert struggled with naming the vitamin, so he initially called it “ignose” or “I-don’t-know-what” sugar. Four years later in 1932, vitamin C became the first vitamin to be produced in a laboratory.
The chemical name of vitamin C is ascorbic acid, meaning acid against scurvy. Native Americans had a vital piece of knowledge for preventing scurvy. They drank an extract, in the form of a tea made from the bark and needles of the pine tree, which was high in vitamin C. Unfortunately, their wisdom remained exclusive to their own population for many years.
Primates, guinea pigs, fruit bats and humans are the only mammals that can’t make vitamin C in their bodies. For example, a cat’s body can produce 18 000 mg of vitamin C a day! Unluckily, somehow during evolution, we lost one of our four vital enzymes needed to produce it. Therefore, because we can’t manufacture it by ourselves through a special enzymatic glucose conversion process, we have to get it from elsewhere.
Which foods have a high vitamin C content? I’m sure you inevitably thought of oranges. The truth is even though oranges are easily accessible and relatively cheap to purchase, foods like mango, papaya, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries or the smelly brussels sprouts that most of us try to avoid, contain more vitamin C than oranges. In central Europe, the true winner is buckthorn berries with an astonishing 400 mg/100g of vitamin C, in comparison to roughly 136 mg/100g of vitamin C in an orange.
Vitamin C is a requirement for the formation of collagen, which is vital for the growth and repair of bones, tendons, cartridges and skin. As a potent antioxidant vitamin C prevents cellular damage and helps to form enzymes regulating a variety of processes in the body.
Not only vitamin C keeps your blood vessels elastic, but it improves cardiovascular health by lowering high blood pressure and levels of bad cholesterol. High doses of vitamin C may also affect people who take blood-thinning medications, such as Heparin and Warfarin. Which makes me wonder why are doctors prescribing expensive prescription drugs to their patients, if vitamin c improves overall cardiovascular health, blood vessel elasticity, evidently reduces the risk of blood clots and has no severe side effects?
Gets better! Just read fact 7.
Because vitamin C can affect blood sugar levels diabetics should keep a close eye on their blood sugar if they are taking extra vitamin C. Studies have shown that even a daily consumption of 1000 mg of vitamin C may be beneficial in decreasing both blood glucose and lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes and thus reducing the risk of complications. It is estimated that 415 million people worldwide, 1 in 11 of the adult population suffer from type 2 diabetes. Just imagine how much money could be saved on health care.
Hola, smokers! Smoking enhances the excretion of vitamin C. This means you need to either increase your vitamin C intake or sorry to say this, just quit smoking. According to Mayo Clinic smokers require a minimum of 35mg daily more than non-smokers. How can you know you are deficient in this nutrient? Most common symptoms are gum bleeding and gingivitis, falling out of teeth, inflexible blood vessels, and heart failure. Better start eating them mangoes before it’s too late!
For a long time, vitamin C was believed to develop kidney stones in both men and women. However, new studies suggest that vitamin C supplementation may increase the chances of kidney stone formation in males, but not females. Sorry, gentlemen. On the upside, further studies are required to confirm these results.
Did you know intravenous vitamin C is used by some doctors to treat cancer? Even though research testing is in its earliest stages, vitamin C shows a lot of potential considering its very low side effects. However, while some health professionals swear by it, others say there is not enough evidence from trials to prove its effectiveness.
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous people living in Arctic regions. Interestingly, even though they never eat fruit, they are not deficient in vitamin C. Because of their limited food options, their diet consists of large quantities of raw meat, with high vitamin content. Most of these vitamins are destroyed during cooking. Even though Eskimos survived to live at the edge of the nutritional envelope, their health is not in a good state. Studies have shown they suffer from atherosclerosis, severe bone mass, parasite infections and meat-derived chemical pollutions.
Like many vitamins and minerals, the effectiveness and absorption of vitamin C improves when combined with other nutrients. For example, vitamin C can significantly increase the absorptions of highly essential mineral (especially in females) iron. It also plays a role in the regeneration of vitamin E. The two vitamins combined together do their magic as powerful antioxidants.
How many facts did you know about?
I guess that doesn’t matter as now you are well informed of all 12 fascinating facts about vitamin C. Even though there is no one silver bullet, vitamin, mineral or nutrient, vitamin C is surely impressive for its history and benefits. Unfortunately, as a water-soluble vitamin cannot be stored in our body. Therefore, we all need to introduce more high content vitamin C foods in our diet and supplement our body to obtain as many health benefits from vitamin C as it can offer.