• Ashu Mishra

Vitamin C: Everything you need to know about.

Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid, is one of the essential nutrients for our body, its major role being a strong antioxidant. This essential dietary supplement is water-soluble and is essential because it cannot be produced by our body and can only be taken with our diet. We can find vitamin C in abundance in citrus fruits. Let us know more about the food where we can find vitamin C in abundance. These fruits are lemon, orange, plum (especially Kakadu Plum), red cherries, guava, chilli pepper, blackcurrants, yellow pepper, kiwis, kale, mustard spinach, sprouts, broccoli, lychees, strawberries, papaya, and more. Vitamin C is not at all synthesised in humans and in plants, it is synthesised by a pathway known as the Smirnoff-Wheeler Pathway. This pathway is all about conversion of Glucose to ascorbic acid using a number of enzymes. This Vitamin C helps our body in building immunity, repairing tendons and ligaments, and many more.

Why should we consume Vitamin C?

1. Reduces mental stress.

2. Prevents cold by aiding immunity.

3. Prevents stroke up to a certain limit.

4. Delays ageing of the skin.

5. Boosts overall immunity.

6. Reduces inflammation.

7. Reduces the risk of cancer.

Artificial production of Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is produced artificially by the fermentation process. This is basically done in three steps: Extraction of Vitamin C from natural sources, chemically processing the extracted part, and finally, fermentation for obtaining the desired product. The enzyme used here is 2,5-diketo-D-gluconic acid reductase and the microorganism used is Corynebacterium species. One of the major risk faced by this industry is the high risk of contamination and the complex methods of processing involved.

Natural v/s Synthetic:

So, now let’s have a look at the difference between natural and synthetic Vitamin C, that is, between one naturally occurring and one made in a lab. As we all believe that the things occurring naturally is better, as, it has no added chemicals in it which can cause side-effects in any way possible. Well! This is true up to a certain limit but not absolutely. It is always better to get the supplements directly from our food sources, but the problem arises when we cook the food, some percentage of the nutrition goes away. There is not much difference between the natural and synthetic Vitamin C and it’s safe to use in a dose prescribed by the doctor.

What can a deficiency of Vitamin C lead to?

There is always a problem rising when there is a deficiency of any of the nutrients required by the body. The deficiency of Vitamin C leads to Scurvy. Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid and is important for certain body functions. The main function of vitamin C is to repair and help in the growth of many body tissues and thus help in the recovery of the body after any wear and tear. With the deficiency of Vitamin C, our internal body response becomes slow and with this, rises the condition of scurvy. The symptoms of scurvy may include bleeding gums, delayed healing of wounds, bones deformity, etc. It may also lead to anaemia. Treatment includes having a vitamin C rich diet which includes oranges, lemon, and other citrus fruits, strawberry, broccoli, etc.

Fun Facts:

1. The chemical formula of Vitamin C is C6H8O6

2. The colour of synthetic crystalline powdered form ranges from whitish to yellowish.

3. This is the first vitamin to be synthesised artificially.

4. This is added to the foodstuffs before packaging or during processing to preserve it.

5. It is also used for colour preservation of meat.

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