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Vitamin C - The Key to Great Health
Vitamin C is important to all animals, including humans, because it is vital to the production of collagen. Vitamin C is also important because it helps protect the fat-soluble vitamins A and E as well as fatty acids from oxidation. Vitamin C prevents and cures the disease scurvy, and can be beneficial in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia. I have to confess that I knew nothing until I joined my pharmacy, about what collagen was, and why it was so important? Collagen is the most ubiquitous substance in the body because it is the most abundant of the fibers contained in connective tissue. Connective tissue gives our body form and supports our organs. Collagen is everywhere in the body, and vitamin C plays a role in the formation of collagen. So, how is vitamin C involved in collagen synthesis? When collagen is produced, there is a complex series of events, some occurring inside of the cell, and some outside of the cell. Vitamin C acts inside the cell, where it adds hydrogen and oxygen to proline and lysine, the amino acids. This helps form a procollagen that is later modified into collagen outside the cell.
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, and grapefruit, and vegetables including tomatoes, green pepper, potatoes and many others. Vitamin C is easily damaged during the food preparation stage, such as during chopping, exposure to air, cooking, boiling, and being submerged in water. The amount of Vitamin C is high enough in most foods that the quantity that remains after processing is usually more than enough for a daily supply.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 60 to 90 milligrams per day. Individuals who smoke cigarettes are encouraged to consume more mgs of vitamin C than average adults. This is due to the fact that smoking depletes vitamin C levels in the body and is a catalyst for biological processes which damage cells. Intake of antioxidants like vitamin C can prevent or counteract cell damage due to aging and exposure to antioxidants. A high dose of vitamin C at the beginning of a cold has shown only to reduce the severity of the symptoms rather curing or preventing the cold.
It is interesting to note that Vitamin C is used as an inexpensive preservative in many processed foods, making deficiencies even rarer.
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