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Vitamin C

Vitamin C, the L-enantiomer of ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin used by the body for many purposes.

As a participant in hydroxylation[?], vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen in the connective tissue. These fibres are ubiquitous throughout the body; providing firm but flexible structure. Some tissues have a greater percentage of collagen, including:

Vitamin C is also used in the body in amino acid synthesis and in the release of hormones from the adrenal glands[?]. It is a strong antioxidant.

Lack of ascorbic acid in the daily diet leads to a disease called scurvy, a form of avitaminosis that is characterized by:

The dietary amounts recommended by various authorities are 50-150 mg of ascorbic acid per day. High doses (thousands of mg) may result in diarrhea.

Recently Nature reported alleged carcinogenic and teratogenic effects of excessive doses of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is used to prevent scurvy, improve iron absorption, and heal bruises[?]. It is also useful as a concommitant medicine in colds[?], flu, and other infections. The rationale is that there is an increased demand for ascorbic acid under conditions of stress and healing.

Citrus fruits (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit) and tomatoes are very high in vitamin C. Other foods that are good sources of vitamin C include papaya, broccoli, brussels sprouts, blackberries, strawberries, cauliflower, spinach, cantaloupe, and blueberries. Any excess of vitamin C is generally excreted in the urine. Most animals can synthesize their own vitamin C, but some animals, including primates, guinea pigs, and humans, cannot. Vitamin C was first isolated in 1928, and in 1932 it was found to cure scurvy.

Nobel Prize winning chemist Linus Pauling began actively promoting vitamin C in the 1960s as a means to greatly improve human health and resistance to disease.

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