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Vitamin C - Benefits, Types, Roles, and History

Vitamin C - Benefits, Types, Roles, and History

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining the health and function of the body. 

It is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, and it is necessary for the production of collagen, a protein that helps form connective tissue and skin. Vitamin C is also involved in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and it helps to support the immune system by aiding in the production of white blood cells.*

There are several different forms of vitamin C, including ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, and sodium ascorbate. 

Vitamin C organge fruits

Ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid is the most common form of vitamin C, and it is found in a variety of foods, including citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, and broccoli. 

Calcium ascorbate

Calcium ascorbate is a combination of ascorbic acid and calcium, and it is often used as a dietary supplement because it is less acidic than ascorbic acid and may be easier on the digestive system. 

Sodium ascorbate

Sodium ascorbate is another form of vitamin C that combines ascorbic acid with sodium and is also used as a dietary supplement.

Vitamin C history

Foods rich in vitamin C

Many foods are high in vitamin C, including citrus fruits, berries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach. 

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are among the best sources of vitamin C, and they are also high in other nutrients, including vitamin A and potassium. Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, are also high in vitamin C and other antioxidants and phytochemicals that may be beneficial for overall health and potentially specific parts of our body like teeth for example.* 

Kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach are also good sources of vitamin C, and they are rich in other nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Vitamin C Calcium ascorbate

The History of vitamin C

The history of vitamin C dates back to the 18th century when a Scottish naval surgeon named James Lind discovered that citrus fruits could prevent scurvy. This disease was common among sailors who were on long voyages and did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Lind's discovery led to the widespread use of citrus fruits to prevent scurvy, and it was later discovered that vitamin C was the active ingredient that could be responsible for preventing the disease.*

In the 20th century, vitamin C became widely available as a dietary supplement, becoming popular as a way to boost the immune system and prevent colds and other illnesses. 

Today, vitamin C is available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and powders, and it is often included in multi-vitamin and mineral supplements. It is also added to a wide range of products, including energy drinks, sports drinks, and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals and snack bars.

Vitamin C Supplements liquid

How vitamin C works in the body

When vitamin C is consumed, it is absorbed from the small intestine and transported to the liver, where it is stored until it is needed by the body. From the liver, vitamin C is released into the bloodstream and transported to the cells and tissues where it is needed.

As explained previously, one of the main functions of vitamin C is to act as an antioxidant, which means that it may help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. 

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of various conditions. Vitamin C may help to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing harm to cells.*

Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid

Vitamin C and collagen production

In addition to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C is also involved in the production of collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of connective tissue and skin. Collagen is a structural protein that provides strength and support to tissues and is found in the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. 

Vitamin C is necessary for producing collagen, and it helps maintain the integrity and strength of connective tissue.

Vitamin C is also important for the immune system, as it helps to support the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting infections. Vitamin C is thought to enhance the function of white blood cells, making them potentially more effective at fighting off bacteria.*

The manufacturing process of vitamin C

The manufacturing process for vitamin C supplements varies depending on the specific form of vitamin C being produced and the type of supplement being made. In general, however, the manufacturing process for vitamin C supplements involves several steps, including sourcing raw materials, mixing and blending ingredients, encapsulating or tableting the finished product, and packaging.

  1. Sourcing raw materials: The first step in the manufacturing process for vitamin C supplements is to source the raw materials that will be used to create the product. This may include ingredients such as ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, or sodium ascorbate, as well as other ingredients that may be added to the product. The raw materials should always be sourced from suppliers who can provide high-quality, pure ingredients that meet the necessary standards for use in dietary supplements.
  2. Mixing and blending ingredients: Once the raw materials have been sourced, they are typically mixed and blended in a large blending machine. This involves adding the ingredients to the machine in a specific order and blending them until they are thoroughly mixed. The ingredients may be mixed using various methods, such as tumbling, shaking, or stirring, depending on the product being manufactured.
  3. Encapsulating or tableting: After the ingredients have been mixed and blended, the next step is to encapsulate or tablet the finished product. For capsule products, the mixture is typically poured into a machine that fills the mixture into empty capsules. For tablet products, the mixture is typically pressed into tablets using a machine that applies pressure to the mixture to form the tablets.
  4. Packaging: Once the product has been encapsulated or tabletted, it is typically packaged for distribution and sale. This may involve placing the capsules or tablets into bottles or blister packs, labeling the product with information such as the name of the product, the ingredients, and the dosage, and sealing the packaging to protect the product from contamination.

 Vitamin C mnaufacturing process

How to store and conserve vitamin C

Vitamin C is generally stable at room temperature, but it can be sensitive to heat and light. When exposed to heat, vitamin C can break down and lose its effectiveness, so it is important to store vitamin C supplements in a cool, dry place to help preserve their potency.

Vitamin C is also sensitive to light, and it can break down when exposed to UV light. To help protect vitamin C supplements from light degradation, they are often packaged in amber or opaque bottles that block out UV light.

In general, it is best to store vitamin C supplements in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat, to help preserve their potency and effectiveness.

In terms of cold, vitamin C is generally stable when exposed to low temperatures. It is not uncommon for vitamin C supplements to be stored in a refrigerator, as the low temperatures can help to extend their shelf life. However, it is important to note that freezing vitamin C supplements can cause them to become brittle and break, so it is best to avoid storing them in the freezer.

Overall, vitamin C is relatively stable at room temperature and can tolerate low temperatures, but it is sensitive to heat and light, and it is important to store it in a cool, dry place to help preserve its potency.

Vitamin C Fruits

Why people take vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is necessary for the proper functioning of the body, and it is used by people of all ages and health status. Some of the situations in which vitamin C is commonly used include:

  1. To support the immune system: Vitamin C is thought to support the immune system by enhancing the function of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting infections. Many people take vitamin C supplements during cold and flu season or when they are feeling under the weather in order to support their immune system and help prevent illness.
  2. To reduce the severity and duration of colds: Some studies have suggested that taking vitamin C supplements might reduce the severity and duration of colds, although the evidence is mixed. Some people take vitamin C supplements at the first sign of a cold in an effort to shorten the duration of the illness.*
  3. To support heart health: Some research has suggested that vitamin C may have a protective effect on heart health, although more research needs to be conducted. Some people take vitamin C supplements in an effort to reduce their risk of heart disease.*
  4. To support healthy skin: Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen, a protein that is necessary for the formation of connective tissue and skin. Some people take vitamin C supplements in an effort to support healthy skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.*
  5. To support overall health and well-being: Many people take vitamin C supplements as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle in order to support overall health and well-being. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is necessary for the proper functioning of the body.*

As always, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Get professional advice if you think you might need a vitamin C supplement or are already taking one to ensure you're not exceeding the amounts you may need.

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