Vitamin C is also knowns as ascorbate or ascorbic acid. The word Ascorbic acid comes from the Latin “Scorbutus”, which was the term they used for the disease scurvy. Hence, putting an “a” at the front meaning anti-scurvy, “a-scorbic”. Vitamin C is extremely water soluble, this is because it contains 4 hydroxyl groups (-OH), it has a chemical structure of C6H6O6.
Vitamin C is associated with the outbreak of scurvy, especially among sailors. According to the history 60% of sailors that undertook a sea voyage dies from scurvy. Gyorgy was first to extract vitamin C and experiment with it. In 1932, he even worked out how to prevent survey in guinea pigs. In 1935, the structure was determined by Scientists Haworth and Hirst. This won them and Gyorgy the Nobel Prize. It wasn’t until 1601 when Sir Lancaster revolutionised nutrition by selling oranges and lemons to shipmates. Up until this point no cure of scurvy was known.
Recent statistics have shown that poor nutrition characterised by the Westernised diet has led to a drastic fall in fruit and vegetable intake, a key source of Vitamin C. One study showed that only 21% teenagers consume their 5 a day.
Symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include, plugging of hair follicles, lethargy, rapid breathing, fluid retention, bleeding gums and irritable mood.
Here are some health benefits of Vitamin C :
- Vitamin C is required for the production of collagen. Collagen is found in youthful skin, and connective tissues in the joint. Ascorbate is required for the chemical hydroxylation of proline. A protein chain required for its structure.
- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient to promote Iron absorption. It also helps its conversion from ferric (Fe3+) iron to the bioavailable ferrous Iron (Fe2+).
- Vitamin C is one of the primary ingredients for any immune system supplement. It is used to promote the proteins, cells and enzymes used for fighting off an infection.
- Vitamin C is needed for energy production. It helps the conversion of amino acid lysine to carnitine. This is able to supply a secondary source of energy to the cells mitochondria. This is why people deficient in Vitamin C struggle with lethargy.