What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is an important nutrient which must be obtained from the diet or by supplementation, as it cannot be synthesized by the human body. Major dietary sources of vitamin C are green vegetables and fruit. Vitamin C is one of the most labile dietary nutrients, being easily destroyed by cooking or food processing. Levels of vitamin C are reduced by smoking, drinking alcohol, as well as by certain drugs (e.g. anticoagulants, antidepressants, oral contraceptives).
What does Vitamin C do?
Vitamin C is essential for normal tissue growth and repair, playing a vital role in collagen formation and strengthening capillary blood vessels. Vitamin C strengthens ligaments and tendons, prevents bruising and is required for wound healing. Vitamin C helps to maintain healthy gums and healthy immune function. Vitamin C is the primary water soluble antioxidant vitamin within the human body, protecting the aqueous cytoplasm within the main body of the cell from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C acts synergistically with the major lipid soluble antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cell membranes from free radical damage.