What is Vitamin C?
Imagine biting into a lemon. At that moment when your taste buds’ rebel and your face contracts, something amazing happens at the same time and completely unnoticed: Your body absorbs a few milligrams of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. The body must take it in regularly with food. Vitamin C primarily find in citrus fruits and fresh vegetables. In addition, vitamin C is added to many processed products such as sausage and meat products. It makes them more durable and keeps the original color. Let’s discuss in detail what vitamin C good for:
What does the body need vitamin C for?
“Have a hot lemon!” Many people know this advice when a cold hit us in winter. The juice of the lemon is a good supplier of the valuable vitamin C; only the combination with hot water is not optimal. The heat reduces the effect; the heat-sensitive vitamin breaks down quickly if the temperature is too high. For example, if you add the juice of a lemon (100 milliliters) to the hot tea, about 80 percent of the vitamin will break down after ten minutes. Only ten milligrams of vitamin C remain from the original approximately 50 milligrams.
The tasks of vitamin C:
What vitamin C good for? In the event of an infection, the vitamin C requirement increases sharply. Because the vitamin works as a so-called immune modulator, which strengthens various processes such as cell division and the barrier function of the skin and mucous membranes. Numerous other processes in which vitamin C involved are:
- The build-up of connective tissue (chain of collagens), cartilage, and bones
- Cell protection through antioxidant effects
- Absorption of iron
- Blocking carcinogenic nitrosamines (contained in cured meat or fish, for example)
- Formation of the messenger substances dopamine and adrenaline
- Vitamin c deficiency – recognizing the signs
It is very important to spot the signs early to avoid vitamin C deficiency. To cover the daily requirement, adults should take 100 milligrams, smokers need significantly higher 150 milligrams, and pregnant women require a slightly higher 110 milligrams. Infants can still get by with an intake of 50 milligrams, but the daily requirement increases gradually throughout childhood.
Signs of a possible vitamin C deficiency are typical scurvy symptoms such as bleeding gums, tooth loss and skin complaints (wrinkles and crow’s feet), difficulty concentrating and weak nerves, tiredness, and sleep disorders, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins, as well as the frequent occurrence of colds.
Overdose of vitamin C:
However, with a single high intake you can not compensate the defincincy; rather you should continuously supply it to the body. There is no risk of overdosing, as unnecessary vitamin C is eliminating from the body via the kidneys and, in the worst case, can lead to diarrhea symptoms. However, studies suggest that synthetic vitamin C may increase the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes. In addition, the long-term, extremely high-dose intake, as it is sometimes use in cancer medicine, for example, is no longer undisputed. Specially developed long-term capsules enable the vitamin to be released slowly throughout the day.
Vitamin C in foods:
The vitamin plays an important role in our diet. It occurs in different amounts in many foods. Vegetables, for example, have a very high content
- Peppers and
- but also, fennel,
- Green and Brussels sprouts,
- Broccoli and
- Parsley on.
True “vitamin C bombs” is present among the various types of fruit. The citrus fruits typically associated with the vitamin are only in the middle. Interestingly, the highest content is sea buckthorn, rosehip, and acerola. Currants also belong to the upper-middle field like kiwis and strawberries. However, you can also find ascorbic acid in the most popular fruit, the apple. At the top here is the Braeburn variety, followed by Jonagold. In milk and milk products low concentration of vitamin C is present.
Food preparation loss
By preparing the foods mentioned, parts of the vitamins contained can be lost, so raw fruit and vegetables consumption is the best solution in terms of vitamin C supply. If, for example, vegetables are to be cooked anyway, cooking in steam, or stewing in fat are gentler solutions than cooking.
Dried herbs and fruits also lose parts of the vitamin C they contain if exposed to high temperatures over a long period. It is precisely for this reason that the “hot lemon,” which is often used as a home remedy for colds, is not as good as its reputation. Rather, use lukewarm water instead of pouring the bubbly hot water from the kettle over the squeezed lemon juice. For example, it is much more suitable Sea buckthorn juice or products based on the acerola cherry. Vitamin C is also offered as a dietary supplement, often in this form in combination with zinc.
What should I watch out for when using products containing vitamin C?
Vitamin C is completely harmless. It is soluble in water and excrete in the form of urine and faeces. An intake of vitamin C more than required is of no benefit. Once saturation is reached, it is no longer possible to record.
- A very high dose of 3 to 4 g / day can lead to flatulence and diarrhea. Oxalic acid forms when ascorbic acid breaks down. It leads to kidney and bladder stones (oxalate stones) in the event of a permanent, heavy overdose. Therefore, people who tend to develop kidney stones or already have kidney stones do not regularly take high-dose vitamin C supplements.
- Ensure that the ascorbic acid does not stay in the mouth for too long, as this can lead to acid-induced corrosion of the tooth enamel.
- Suppose you store too much iron for hereditary reasons (iron storage disease, hemochromatosis). In that case, you should consume a maximum of 500 mg of vitamin C per day (including vitamin C from food and beverages) and at least 2 hours away from meals containing iron or meat. Do not use food supplements containing vitamin C and foods fortified with vitamin C without prior medical advice.