Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin (just like B vitamins). Unlike fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), it is destroyed by cooking and too long storage. Animals can independently produce the amount of vitamin C needed, but the human body is unable to do so. For this reason, we must regularly supply it in food or in supplements.
We associate vitamin C mainly with citruses: oranges, grapefruits, lemons. And rightly so! However, its raw peppers - red and yellow - contain much more. Among the abundant sources of vitamin C we distinguish fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, watermelon and vegetables: broccoli, cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, tomatoes and spinach.
The recommendations are clear. For a man aged 19 and over, it is 90 mg per day, for a woman - 75 mg. In practice, this translates into half a glass of red pepper or one orange.
If you are a cigarette smoker or passive smoker you will need 35 mg more. Why? Cigarette smoke is an additional stress for the body, which is professionally called oxidative stress. It reduces the level of vitamin C in the body.
Vitamin C deficiencies are among others in older people whose diet is not very varied and in patients with intestinal diseases whose absorption of this vitamin is impaired. Daily doses are higher in these groups.
Vitamin C and cold treatment are an obvious combination. However, does vitamin C really work in this case? The researches prove that systematic supplementation is associated first of all with shortening the time of illness, and secondly with alleviating symptoms. However, effective doses are much higher than recommended, i.e. 1-2 grams a day, and according to other studies, even 6-8 grams a day.
This is the main reason why people reach for it. Intuition in this case does not disappoint. What is the mechanism of this action? Vitamin C has been proven to strengthen the natural barrier against microbes. This barrier is constituted by white blood cells, which appear in the results of blood tests under the abbreviation LEU (from leukocytes, i.e. their scientific name). Vitamin C increases their production, but also protects against the main enemy, i.e. free radicals. Another element of the protective barrier is skin. Vitamin C is not without a reduction in wound healing time!
Free radicals are the perpetrators of chronic diseases. It turns out that vitamin C increases the amount of antioxidants by 30%, which protect against free radicals. This reduces the risk of developing a chronic disease. An impressive result!
Oxidative stress and free radicals are also associated with dementia. The very word dementia causes great fear. All the more so when we realize that this disease affects 35 million people around the world. It's almost all of Poland! In this case, vitamin C also helps. Many studies show that vitamin C helps to maintain good mental condition.
The fact that vitamin C reduces blood pressure can be surprising. But it is true! However, it should be emphasized that vitamin C is not a medicine for high blood pressure. However, it can help when we want to prevent or stop the disease.
Heart disease is the #1 killer worldwide. The risk of this condition is compounded by: high blood pressure, high LDL ("bad") and low HDL ("good") cholesterol. Here, vitamin C also works great at a dose of at least 500 mg per day.
Gout affects even a few percent of Poles. Her attack is extremely unpleasant - the big toe suddenly swells, causing unexpected, sharp pain. The cause of the disease is uric acid that accumulates in the joint. Vitamin C reduces uric acid, reducing the risk of gout by as much as 44%.
Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.
Iron is an extremely important nutrient - it participates in the formation of red blood cells that distribute oxygen throughout the body. Unfortunately, not everyone has enough iron in the body, which causes them to suffer from anemia, e.g. people who do not eat meat or with intestinal diseases.
Anemia is usually treated with iron, but treatment can be difficult because iron tablets often cause stomach sensations, and drip iron causes a lot of nausea. Studies show that there is hope for people with anemia - only 100 mg of vitamin C per day is enough to increase the absorption of iron from food by 67%.