Vitamin C

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species, in which it functions as a vitamin. Ascorbate (an ion of ascorbic acid) is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions in all animals and plants. It is made internally by almost all organisms; notable mammalian group exceptions are most or all of the order chiroptera (bats), and one of the two major primate suborders, the Anthropoidea (Haplorrhini) (tarsiers, monkeys and apes, including mankind). Ascorbic acid is also not synthesized by guinea pigs and some species of birds and fish. All species that do not synthesize ascorbate require it in the diet. Deficiency in this vitamin causes the disease scurvy in humans. It is also widely used as a food additive.

The pharmacophore of vitamin C is the ascorbate ion. In living organisms, ascorbate is an anti-oxidant, since it protects the body against oxidative stress, and is a cofactor in at least eight enzymatic reactions, including several collagen synthesis reactions that cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy when they are dysfunctional.

Scurvy has been known since ancient times. People in many parts of the world assumed it was caused by a lack of fresh plant foods. The British Navy started giving sailors lime juice to prevent scurvy in 1795.[7] Ascorbic acid was finally isolated in 1932 and commercially synthesized in 1934. The uses and recommended daily intake of vitamin C are matters of on-going debate, with RDI ranging from 45 to 95 mg/day. Proponents of megadosage propose from 200 mg to more than 2000 mg/day. The fraction of vitamin C in the diet that is absorbed and the rate at which the excess is eliminated from the body vary strongly with the dose. continue reading here

 
 

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