Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that’s also known as ascorbic acid. Even before it was discovered, physicians knew that there was a compound in citrus fruit that prevented scurvy, which was a disease that killed many sailors during their long voyages. Take a look below for 25 more interesting and important facts about vitamin C.
1. While most plants and animals can produce their own vitamin C, humans can’t. This is why we need to eat ample amounts of vitamin C every day.
2. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps boost the body’s immune system, which is why people often eat oranges or take a vitamin C supplement to try and prevent colds.
3. Vitamin C is needed for proper growth, development and to heal wounds. It’s used to make the collagen tissue for healthy teeth, humans, blood vessels and bones.
4. Since vitamin C is such a powerful antioxidant, it’s also used to prevent damage to our bodies from toxicities and pollutants such as pollution and cigarette smoke.
5. In the 1700s, men in the British navy were nicknamed Limeys because they were made to eat lime juice on long ocean voyages. This was because many sailors were getting scurvy, which was caused by not getting enough vitamin C.
6. Vitamin C is important in making a special hormone in the brain called a neurotransmitter, that helps with brain function.
7. If you get too much vitamin C in your diet, you can get diarrhea and painful stomach aches.
8. Vitamin C can be lost from foods that are cooked or stored in water. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables whenever possible is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin C.
9. It was the first vitamin to be man made, produced in a factory and taken as a pill.
10. Other foods that were taken on long sea voyages to prevent scurvy were sauerkraut, lemon juice and oranges.
11. It’s sometimes used to treat colds and, in very large amounts, can sometimes be used as an additional medicine to treat some cancers.
12. Since guinea pigs can’t make their own vitamin C, like humans, they were one of the first really useful animals for testing purposes. In fact, testing guinea pigs helped discover what vitamin C was, and also helped prove how it could cure scurvy.
13. The Inuit never eat fruit but they don’t suffer from vitamin C deficiency because they eat a large quantity of raw meat, which has a high vitamin content. Most of these vitamins are destroyed when we cook our food.
14. Vitamin C makes the skin firmer because it plays an important role in building up collagen. Without collagen, the skin dries out and loses its firmness.
15. Smoker need a 30% higher intake of vitamin C than nonsmokers otherwise they will experience symptoms of scurvy, such as bleeding gums and falling out of teeth.
16. The officially recommended vitamin C intake is 70 to 80 milligrams, however, the Nobel Prize winning scientist Albert Szent Gyorgyi, the discoverer of the vitamin, took 1000 milligrams daily when healthy and 8000 to 9000 milligrams when he was sick.
17. Among all plants found in Central Europe, buckthorn berries have the highest vitamin C content and they are situated at the 5th place worldwide.
18. When Albert Szent Gyorgyi first isolated vitamin C, he called it “ignose” or “i don’t know what” sugar. The vitamin then gained the name Ascorbic Acid.
19. Vitamin C that’s used for medicinal and food preservation purposes is mainly obtained from corn.
20. Some research shows that vitamin C may be able to improve cardiovascular health by lowering high blood pressure and the levels of bad cholesterol.
21. Mammals that make their own vitamin C can live 8 to 10 times longer than the age of their physical maturity. Humans, on the other hand, have a hard time reaching 3 to 4 times beyond their physical maturity.
22. The best dietary sources of vitamin C are oranges, red and yellow capsicums, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kiwifruit, grapefruit, guava, strawberries and papaya.
23. People with kidney problems shouldn’t take high doses of vitamin C as it can predispose them for other problems.
24. In high doses, vitamin C can affect people who are taking blood thinning medications.
25. Research done at the University of Otago into bowel cancer found that tumors containing higher levels of vitamin C were less aggressive and slower to grow than those with lower levels.