16th October 2019

Vitamin C and its antioxidant benefits


Vitamin C, a whole lot more than just a nutrient to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold.

Vitamin C is an important dietary antioxidant that is now receiving more attention for its potential to protect cells than its original use, to prevent scurvy. As the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C helps to fight damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals, especially in interiors of cells which are mostly water. As an antioxidant it offers protection against cancer and heart disease with several studies showing that low levels are linked to heart attacks.

This well know, and more widely used than any other nutritional supplement, has also been found to reduce asthma symptoms, protect against cataracts, enhance immunity and speed wound healing. It is also essential for the synthesis of collagen and is necessary for proper growth and repair and for healthy tissues, including bones. It aids the production of haemoglobin and helps the body absorb iron from foods (people taking iron supplements should ideally use vitamin C).

Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, strawberries and kiwis. It is, however one of the most unstable vitamins and up to two thirds is lost by processing, prolonged cooking and storage.

The recommended target for vitamin C is 40mg a day. However, nutritionists generally believe an optimum intake is at least 200mg a day and they recommend higher doses for the treatment of specific diseases.

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