Ascorbic acid, vitamin C (in Latin scorbutus – scurvy) is an elixir of life that is valued on all continents. Everyone has heard that vitamin C saves you from colds, so in the winter, everyone massively relies on tangerines, oranges, and buys sweet ascorbic acid in pharmacies and supermarkets. Why is this substance so famous?
The existence of a vitamin that is ready to withstand scurvy, scientists guessed in the middle of the nineteenth century. Among sailors and doctors there was an unwritten rule: dilute the usual diet with potatoes, citruses, fruits. Thanks to a sufficient amount of substance, the body protects itself from viral infections, the immune system independently fights viruses and infections.
After several decades, researcher Zelva began studying the composition of vitamin C, and soon he managed to extract ascorbic acid from freshly squeezed lemon juice. However, in the 20s, the material and technical base did not allow further progress in the studies. After a while, Albert Georgie and Charles King were able to decipher the chemical formula of the substance, developed an artificial synthesis. Since then, hundreds of scientists have dedicated their work to studying the characteristics of vitamin C. Nowadays, the substance is regularly used in medicine and beauty industry.
After the discovery of ascorbine, in European countries, its use reached record levels. The government recommended that residents use the element three times a day, without understanding whether a new element is useful. Soon, medical institutions began to complain about hypervitaminosis of ascorbic acid, the symptoms of which are dangerous to human life. In Germany and Norway imposed restrictions on the production, promotion and sale of vitamin C, which allowed to level the situation. People were wary of a substance that had recently been considered a miracle cure for all diseases.
Restrictions on ascorbic acid persist until now. In addition, in 2005, the European Court ordered manufacturers to replace the phrase “heals, prolongs” with “promotes, protects” in the instructions for the preparation. Doctors undertake to regulate the dosage of the element in order to avoid unwanted complications.
Despite the presence of contraindications, recommendations, the biological role of vitamin C in the functionality of the body is enormous. The diet should be carefully monitored to ensure the intake of a sufficient amount of the substance with food and vitamin preparations.
The concept of ascorbic acid
The chemical formula of ascorbic acid is С6Н8О6. The powder is no different from other vitamins: soluble in water, resistant to fat, has a sour taste, but does not smell. If stored incorrectly, it decomposes and resembles powder in structure.
At what temperature is vitamin C destroyed? The destructive process begins with 60 degrees, and disintegrates into particles at 100 degrees.
Chemists have proven that vitamin molecules are similar in composition to crystalline sugar, but there are significant differences. An artificially derived vitamin C appeared in the food industry, which immediately became a popular food additive under the number Е315. The additive does not have the same beneficial properties as the original, although it is much cheaper.
Functions in the body
The main role of ascorbic acid in the human body is the fight against radicals and antioxidant properties. The element is the strongest antioxidant, because it protects the internal organs and tissues from possible damage, the development of cancer.
What is vitamin C for? With his participation, redox processes take place in the body, protein synthesis is carried out, and connective tissues are strengthened. Vitamin C accelerates the healing of wounds, scars and has a positive effect on the regeneration of the epithelium.
For athletes, it is important to regularly take vitamin-mineral complexes with the content of “ascorbinka”, since the substance normalizes energy processes, increases endurance. Synthesis of steroid hormones, metabolism of folic acid, natural metals is not complete without vitamin C. In bodybuilding, a substance is respected for its role in building muscle mass, since the level of protein absorption and processing depends on it.
The value of ascorbic acid for the body cannot be assessed. Vitamin strengthens blood vessels, increases the level of permeability of elements through their walls. The drug is prescribed for allergic reactions, as in problem areas of the body no longer accumulate blood in large volumes. In the presence of vitamin C in the body in the right quantity, inflammatory processes occur in a lightweight form.
The main reason for the development of cardiovascular diseases is an increased amount of cholesterol in the body. Ascorbic acid normalizes the process of synthesis and metabolism, therefore, oxidized cholesterol is not deposited on the walls of blood vessels. The prevention of these phenomena will allow to avoid atherosclerosis, from which even young people today suffer.
The absorption of calcium and iron due to vitamin C is improved by half, the blood is provided with an anti-anemic factor, the nervous system and joints absorb calcium better. The benefits of the substance are confirmed by research: the improvement of calcium absorption occurred even in older people, when all processes are slowed down several times.
Immunity works in full force in the presence of three main vitamins: A, C, E. Ascorbic acid is responsible for the functionality of protective cells, with a sufficient amount of immunity resists viruses, bacteria, parasites.
Oncology is considered to be the plague of the 21st century, statistics show that the number of people with cancer is growing restlessly. Oncologists say that at a normal level of vitamin C in the body there is a natural struggle with cancer cells. However, if an ascorbine surplus is formed in the body, the cancer mutated cells become more stable, even radiation therapy does not take them.
It is possible to slow down the development of a cancer tumor by introducing the substance directly into the malignancy. Scientists are still conducting clinical studies to get confirmation of this theory. In any case, patients with oncology are recommended to maintain vitamin C at the proper level.
Ascorbic acid frees the liver from the effects of toxins, removes copper, radioactive substances, mercury, lead. To prevent the development of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract ascorbine has become an indispensable tool. Controlling the level of the substance in the body, there is a chance to avoid cancer tumors in the colon and bladder.
Acid normalizes the functionality of the nervous system, the body produces resistance to stress, there are forces to resist the pathogens. In addition, the work of the adrenal glands is leveled, the right amount of hormones responsible for the fight against stress is produced. This is far from all that ascorbic acid is responsible for.
It is impossible to give an objective assessment of the effect of vitamin C function. In the twenty-first century, science knows far from all the properties with which substance is rich. Do not underestimate the control over the level of ascorbic acid in the body, because its deficiency causes the development of chronic diseases.
Sources of Vitamin C
The body, due to its peculiarities, does not accumulate ascorbic acid; therefore, it should be carefully monitored for its consumption. The daily diet is not often present foods rich in vitamin C. To fill the amount of the substance should be in the form of a drug. Natural vitamin is water soluble and easily heat-treated, which destroys its beneficial chemical properties. What products does it contain?
Main sources of matter:
- rose hips;
- Bell pepper;
- black currant;
- baked potato;
- leafy herbs.
Previously, oranges and tangerines were considered the main fruit, which contains the most vitamin. After a while, scientists proved that this was not the case, but nothing could be compared to dogrose, bell pepper, and kiwi for the spaciousness of the substance.
Among animal products, vitamin C is found only in the liver, adrenal glands and kidneys.
Herbs containing ascorbic acid are added during cooking to any dishes:
- raspberry sheets;
These products are easily digested, as evidenced by more than one calorie table. People who adhere to a diet can not worry about the level of vitamin, because their diet consists of healthy foods, the caloric content of which does not harm the diet.
Recommendations about what is absorbed with vitamin C does not exist. To assimilate as much ascorbic acid as possible, follow these rules:
- Vegetables and fruits are peeled and cut immediately before eating.
- During cooking, the vegetables are placed only in boiling water, so that the organic vitamin does not dissolve in the water during heating.
- Cooked vegetables should not be left in the broth, because everything is given liquid, and the fruits become useless.
- Fresh vegetable salads are salted and dressed with sauces exclusively before serving.
Consumption of vitamin C occurs instantly after it enters the body, take care of a uniform intake of vitamin throughout the day.
The daily dose is desirable to be divided into three uniform portions, thus, the concentration of the substance is maintained in the body constantly. Finding out what is the most contained ascorbic acid, try to properly prepare and consume foods with an increased source of matter.
Ascorbic acid, as a medical drug
With a lack of vitamin in the body, it is recommended to replenish the supply with medical preparations. Release form:
- in pills;
- in ampoules;
- in powder.
The form of application is determined by the treating doctor depending on the nature of the disease. Instructions for use warns of possible side effects with improper dosage of the drug.
Dragee “ascorbicum” is prescribed for children, because they resemble candy, and not a medicine. Effervescent tablets are popular with professional athletes. One tablet, diluted in a glass of water, restores the vitamin and invigorates before an exhausting workout. Powder is available in bags.
In the ampoules produced solution for injection. One ampoule contains 50, 100 mg, which allows you to enter the desired dose of the drug at a time.
Overdose adversely affects the stomach and digestive tract. Pregnant women are under the risk zone because the metabolism between the mother and fetus is disturbed. As a result, the child develops allergies, and the mother will earn problems with the gastrointestinal tract.
Daily rate for a person
Scientists have not come to a consensus regarding the daily requirement of vitamin C for the human body. A common option for an adult average person is 60-80 milligrams of substance per day.
Infants are allowed to use up to 40 mg of ascorbic acid, for children at the age of five – 45 mg, at fourteen the daily norm increases to 50 mg.
The World Health Organization recommends using a different method of calculation: 2,5 mg of substance falls on one kilogram of body weight. A man weighing 90 kg per day should receive 225 mg of vitamin C per day. In order to fill the level of ascorbic acid for medicinal purposes, doctors increase the recommended dose three times.
Some categories are recommended to increase the standard dose, because the body is not enough average amount of vitamin C in the body. These categories include:
- Pregnant women – 75 mg. If you have a question, is it possible for pregnant women to take vitamin c? Consult a female consultation in order not to worry about the baby’s health. When planning a pregnancy, the level of ascorbine in the body is important for men and women. The daily rate does not exceed 100 mg.
- Nursing moms – 90 mg.
- Smokers – 120 mg.
- Alcoholics – 120 mg. Alcohol and nicotine accelerate the breakdown of vitamin C, which provokes the formation of a deficiency in the body.
- Persons who are in constant stressful situations.
- People living in areas with unfavorable ecology: factory emissions, exhaust gases, untreated drinking water, etc. As soon as harmful substances enter the body, ascorbic acid is consumed for their disposal. The need for vitamin increases.
- Residents of the Far North and southern regions. Unusual weather conditions are considered stressful for the body, so residents are recommended to take more vitamins on 40% than other categories.
- Women taking oral contraceptives.
Even if you belong to a group of people suffering from a deficiency of vitamin C, do not use a losing dose of a substance at a time. Divide the dose into 3 portions and take them throughout the day.
How old is the use of ascorbic acid? Vitamins without the presence of pathologies in the baby are introduced into the diet after the completion of the breastfeeding period. When breastfeeding, the baby gets all the necessary elements from the mother’s milk.
Lethal dose to humans – 60-90 tablets for a short period of time. The body does not have time to remove the substance through the urinary canal, there is an overdose of vitamin.
Vitamin C deficiency and its signs
Recall that from ancient times, citrus fruits were considered the only salvation from scurvy. 10 mg of ascorbic acid, which equals two fresh apples or a bunch of grapes, will help prevent the development of the disease. However, this is not enough to maintain the productive work of the body in a world filled with negative factors: plants, exhaust gases, dirty water, chronic stress.
Hypovitaminosis is manifested by a decrease in the work of the immune system, the body’s vulnerability to respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. Studies have shown that with ascorbine deficiency in schoolchildren, the body’s ability to withstand pathogens has decreased by half. An acid deficiency causes serious illness. Signs of vitamin C deficiency:
- gum sensitivity;
- tooth loss;
- decreased visual acuity;
- prolonged wound healing;
- hair loss;
- appearance of old wrinkles;
- joint pain;
- depressive state;
With insufficient intake of ascorbic acid, vitamin deficiency develops for two to three months.
Before taking vitamins, find out their amount in the body in order to avoid undesirable consequences from overdose. To determine the level of vitamin C in the body does not necessarily pass tests, the sample is easily carried out at home. Drag the arm with a tight elastic band so that small spots appear on the skin surface. The number of spots indicates the level of vitamin deficiency: the number of spots indicates the complexity of the situation. An excess of vitamin C is evidenced by its presence in the urine.
Replenish the supply of vitamin C in the body need the right food, which was already mentioned above. Try to minimally process fruits and vegetables with fever and water, since the nutrients dissolve extremely quickly without getting into the body.
Excess Ascorbic Acid in the Human Body
Ascorbic acid is extremely useful for humans, but in large quantities can cause irreparable harm. The body functions normally only when it receives the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals not above the permissible rate. Surplus and deficiency become impetus to undesirable processes that affect the general state of health.
Consequences of excess ascorbic acid:
- Destruction of blood cells.
- The simultaneous consumption of vitamin C and aspirin leads to irritation of the gastric mucosa, an ulcer. Aspirin causes increased consumption of ascorbic acid, which is excreted in the urine through the kidneys. Such a loss becomes the first bell of a serious vitamin deficiency.
- A shock dose of vitamin C prevents the absorption of vitamin B 12, which is used as a dietary supplement. B12 deficiency has an extremely negative effect on the body, so its level should be regularly monitored by a doctor.
- Candies and chewing gum with a high content of vitamin C damage tooth enamel, therefore, after using them, the teeth must be cleaned and the mouth cleaned.
- High doses of ascorbic acid slow down the pancreas, which is dangerous for diabetics and people with anemia, thrombophlebitis, and thrombosis. Vitamin C affects the formation of a separate group of hormones that put pressure on the work of the kidneys and arteries.
Ascorbic acid is freely available in stores, pharmacies, so you can buy it without a doctor’s prescription.
An excess of vitamin C has negative consequences that, by their seriousness, are not inferior to the deficit.
Vitamin C in medicine
The beneficial properties of ascorbic acid have led to its popularity in medicine. Vitamin C preparations are prescribed for a wide range of diseases:
- infectious diseases;
Doctors, after examining the patient’s history, the dosage is increased to 1,5 g per day. Intramuscularly drugs are introduced with an acute shortage of vitamin, in other cases, the diet is regulated, prescribed pills are prescribed.
The most famous doctor Linus Pauling became an ardent supporter of the use of vitamin C for medicinal purposes. The scientist advocated the use of the substance in the treatment of serious diseases and minor ailments, but this theory was not supported by studies of physiologists. Some patients after raising the daily norm showed serious problems caused by hypervitaminosis.
During pregnancy, additional examinations and tests are carried out, as a woman and a child can suffer. For pregnant women, it is not for nothing that restrictions are imposed on the use of vitamin C, since in the early stages of its oversupply provoke miscarriage.
Ascorbic acid is prescribed for a delayed period and an irregular cycle. Vitamin C is involved in the production of estrogen – the main component in the structure of the inner layer of the uterus. With a sufficient amount of female hormone, the uterus is compressed, which provokes menstruation. Thus, the substance causes menstruation and improves women’s health.
Used in cosmetics
Ascorbic acid, as an antioxidant, is part of anti-aging cosmetics for women. Vitamin C-based products prevent the effects of free radicals on the skin, so it is used in the manufacture of anti-aging creams.
The presence of vitamin in the list of components of cosmetics, does not guarantee the quality, because not always used the amount of the element is enough to get the effect. The optimal dose in cosmetology ranges from 0,3% to 10%. Professional products on the labels contain information on the amount of active substance and the percentage ratio of components.
Due to the sensitivity of the vitamin to light and air, cosmetics based on it are available in airtight, tinted packaging with a dispenser.
Facial cosmetics based on vitamin C have the following functions:
- protect the skin from exposure to infrared rays;
- synthesize collagen;
- restore collagen fibers;
- slow down the aging process;
- increase skin tone;
- prevent the manifestation of age spots;
- relieve inflammation;
- refresh and improve the complexion;
- strengthen the vascular walls.
In winter, cosmetics are not enough to replenish the supply of vitamin C, it is necessary to take vitamin-mineral complexes for the skin.
Ascorbic acid is useful for hair, it gives shine and silkiness to hair. Liquid vitamin ampoules are added to an ordinary shampoo or balm for washing hair. The power throughout the length is carried out during each wash.
Vitamin C Myths
Since the properties of ascorbic acid became known to mankind, the vitamin has been accompanied by myths and rumors. On the miraculous properties of matter are legends, far from the real situation. We offer you to get acquainted with the popular and common inventions regarding vitamin C.
- Ascorbic acid protects against ODS. Everyone had heard that at the first signs of indisposition, one should immediately take vitamin C. Doctors attributed “ascorbicles” to adults and children, asserting that soon they would forget about the common cold and cough. It is not true. Vitamin will help with colds only if it is taken as a prophylactic before the onset of the disease. Otherwise, people taking vitamin C, one day sick less than the average person.
- Does not protect the body from toxins. The results of clinical studies impressed experienced scientists. Smokers cause irreparable harm to the health of their family members, turning them into passive smokers. If they regularly take ascorbic acid, then the effects of smoking are much less.
- Vitamin C does not affect cancer tumors. The opinions of scientists regarding the effect of ascorbic acid in the fight against cancer tumors differ among themselves. A couple of years ago, Marky Levine – an employee of the National Institute of Health proved that ascorbate helps in the fight against cancer – destroys cancer cells. With the injection of vitamin C into the body of the tumor, the survival rate of cancer cells was halved. The positive effects of the drug in cancer have to be proved by the results of clinical products, because each organism has exceptional features.
- With ascorbic acid you can lose weight. Indeed, vitamin C improves the functioning of the body, losing a few pounds is possible, but no more. For weight loss, you must not just take any pills, it is important to create a calorie deficit. Proper balanced nutrition, physical activity, sleep – the key to a healthy body. To understand how many calories are consumed and consumed daily, you should keep a diary and record every meal (weight, calorie) in it.
Excessive consumption, like the lack of an element, leads to negative consequences. It is not necessary to prescribe yourself a dosage, not previously examined by a specialized physician.