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, the researcher Zelva began to study the composition of vitamin C, and soon managed to get ascorbic acid from freshly squeezed lemon juice. However, in the 20s, the material and technical base did not allow further progress in studies. After a while, Albert Georgie and Charles King were able to decipher the chemical formula of the substance, developed artificial synthesis. Since then, hundreds of scientists have devoted themselves to the study of vitamin C characteristics. Nowadays, the substance is regularly used in medicine and the beauty industry.
After the discovery of ascorbin, its use in European countries reached record levels. The government recommended that residents use the element three times a day, without understanding what the new element is useful for. Soon, medical institutions rained complaints about ascorbic acid hypervitaminosis, the symptoms of which are dangerous to human life. In Germany and Norway, they introduced restrictions on the production, advertising, and marketing of vitamin C, which made it possible to even out the situation. People were wary of a substance that was recently considered a miracle cure for all diseases.
Limitations on ascorbic acid still exist. In addition, in 2005, the European Court ordered manufacturers to replace the phrase “heals, prolongs” with “promotes, protects” in the instructions for the drug. Doctors are required to adjust the dosage of the element to avoid unwanted complications.
Despite the presence of contraindications, recommendations, the biological role of vitamin C in the functionality of the body is huge. You should carefully monitor the diet to ensure the consumption of a sufficient amount of the substance with food and vitamin preparations.
The concept of ascorbic acid
The chemical formula of ascorbic acid is C6H8O6. 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 does vitamin C break down? The destructive process begins at 60 degrees, and breaks up into particles at 100 degrees.
Chemists have proven that vitamin molecules are similar in composition to crystalline sugar, but there are significant differences. Artificially derived vitamin C has appeared in the food industry, which immediately became a popular food supplement under the number E315. The additive does not have the same beneficial properties as the original, although it is much cheaper.
The main role of ascorbic acid in the human body is the fight against radicals and antioxidant properties. The element is a powerful antioxidant, because it protects 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.
It is important for athletes to regularly take vitamin-mineral complexes containing “ascorbic acid”, since the substance normalizes energy processes and increases endurance. The synthesis of steroid hormones, the exchange of folic acid, natural metals is not complete without vitamin C. In bodybuilding, a substance is respected for its role in the selection of muscle mass, since the level of protein absorption and processing depends on it.
The value of ascorbic acid for the body cannot be estimated. Vitamin strengthens blood vessels, increases the level of permeability of elements through their walls. The drug is prescribed for allergic reactions, since blood in large volumes ceases to accumulate in problem areas of the body. In the presence of vitamin C in the body in the right amount, inflammatory processes occur in a lightened form.
The main reason for the development of cardiovascular diseases is considered 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 avoid atherosclerosis, from which even young people suffer today.
The absorption of calcium and iron thanks to vitamin C is doubled, blood is provided by an antianemic factor, the nervous system and joints absorb calcium better. The benefits of the substance are confirmed by studies: improved absorption of calcium occurred even in older people, when all processes slow down several times.
Immunity works at full strength in the presence of three main vitamins: A, C, E. Ascorbic acid is responsible for the functionality of the protective cells, with a sufficient amount of it, the immune system resists viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Oncology is considered a plague of the XXI century, statistics show that the number of cases of cancer is growing steadily. Oncologists claim that at a normal level of vitamin C in the body there is a natural fight with cancer cells. However, if ascorbine surplus forms in the body, cancerous mutating 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 malignant formation. Scientists are still conducting clinical trials to get confirmation of this theory. In any case, cancer patients 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. By controlling the level of the substance in the body, there is a chance to avoid cancerous growths in the colon and bladder.
Acid normalizes the functionality of the nervous system, the body develops resistance to stress, and forces appear to resist pathogens. In addition, the work of the adrenal glands is leveled, the right amount of hormones responsible for combating stress is produced. This is not 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, not all the properties that are rich in matter are known to science. Do not underestimate the control over the level of ascorbic acid in the body, since its deficiency causes the development of chronic diseases.
Sources of Vitamin C
The body, by virtue of its characteristics, does not accumulate ascorbic acid, therefore, its consumption should be carefully monitored. Vitamin C-rich foods are not so often present in the daily diet. The amount of the substance should be replenished in drug form. Natural vitamin is water-soluble and easy to heat treatment, which destroys its beneficial chemical properties. What products are contained in?
The main sources of the substance:
- Bell pepper;
- black currant;
- baked potato;
- leafy herbs.
Previously, oranges and tangerines were considered the main fruits, which contain the most vitamin. After a while, scientists proved that this is not so, but nothing can be compared with rosehips, bell peppers and kiwi in terms of substance capacity.
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 leaves;
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 calorie content of which does not harm the diet.
There are no recommendations on what vitamin C is digested with. To absorb as much ascorbic acid as possible, follow these guidelines:
- Vegetables and fruits are peeled and cut immediately before eating.
- During cooking, vegetables are placed only in boiled water so that the organic vitamin does not dissolve in water during heating.
- Cooked vegetables should not be left in the broth, because everything is given to the liquid, and the fruits become useless.
- Salads from fresh vegetables are salted and seasoned with sauces only before serving.
The consumption of vitamin C occurs instantly after it enters the body, take care of the uniform consumption of vitamin throughout the day.
It is desirable to divide the daily dose into three uniform portions, thus, the concentration of the substance is constantly maintained in the body. Having found out what contains ascorbic acid most of all, try to properly prepare and consume foods with an increased source of matter.
Ascorbic acid as a medicine
With a lack of vitamin in the body, it is recommended to replenish the supply of medical preparations. Release form:
- in tablets;
- in ampoules;
- in powder.
The form of use is determined by the attending doctor, depending on the nature of the disease. Instructions for use warns of possible side effects with the wrong 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 ampoules, a solution for injection is made. One ampoule contains 50, 100 mg, which allows you to enter the desired dose of the drug at a time.
An overdose adversely affects the stomach and digestive tract. Pregnant women are at risk, since the metabolism between the mother and the fetus is disturbed. As a result, the child develops an allergy, and the mother will earn herself gastrointestinal problems.
Daily rate for a person
Scientists have not come to a consensus on the daily intake of vitamin C for the human body. A common option for an average adult is 60-80 milligrams of the substance per day.
Breasts are allowed to consume 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 calculation method: 2.5 mg of substance falls per kilogram of body weight. A man weighing 90 kg per day should receive 225 mg of vitamin C per day. To replenish the level of ascorbic acid for medicinal purposes, doctors increase the recommended dose three times.
Some categories are advised to increase standard doses because the body does not have an average amount of vitamin C in the body. These categories include:
- Pregnant women - 75 mg. If you have a question, can pregnant women take vitamin C? Consult a antenatal clinic 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 norm does not exceed 100 mg.
- Nursing mothers - 90 mg.
- Smokers - 120 mg.
- Alcoholics - 120 mg. Alcohol and nicotine accelerate the breakdown of vitamin C, which provokes the formation of a deficiency of a substance in the body.
- Persons in constant stressful situations.
- People living in areas with adverse environmental conditions: factory emissions, exhaust fumes, untreated drinking water, etc. As soon as harmful substances enter the body, ascorbic acid is used up for their disposal. The need for vitamin is increasing.
- Residents of the far North and southern regions. Non-standard weather conditions are considered stress for the body, so residents are advised to take 40% more vitamins 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 single dose of shock. Divide the dose into 3 servings and take them throughout the day.
At what age is ascorbic acid allowed? Vitamins without the presence of pathologies in the baby are introduced into the diet after the completion of the lactation period. When breastfeeding, the baby receives all the necessary elements with breast milk.
The lethal dose for a person is 60-90 tablets in a short period of time. The body does not have time to remove the substance through the urinary canal, an overdose of vitamin occurs.
Vitamin C deficiency and its symptoms
Recall that from ancient times, citrus fruits were considered the only salvation from scurvy. 10 mg of ascorbic acid will help prevent the development of the disease, which equals two fresh apples or a bunch of grapes. 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 immunity, 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 halved. Acid deficiency causes serious illness. Signs of Vitamin C deficiency:
- gum sensitivity;
- tooth loss;
- decreased visual acuity;
- varicose veins;
- the appearance of bruises;
- prolonged wound healing;
- hair loss;
- the appearance of senile wrinkles;
- joint pain;
- depressive state;
With insufficient intake of ascorbic acid, vitamin deficiency develops over a period of two to three months.
Before taking vitamins, find out their amount in the body in order to avoid undesirable consequences from an overdose. To determine the level of vitamin C in the body, it is not necessary to take tests, the test is easily carried out at home. Pull your hand with a tight elastic band so that small spots appear on the surface of the skin.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 indicated by its presence in the urine.
You need to replenish vitamin C in the body with the right foods, as mentioned above. Try to minimize the processing of fruits and vegetables at elevated temperatures and water, since nutrients dissolve extremely quickly without entering 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 no higher than the permissible norm. Oversupply and deficit become impetus for undesirable processes affecting the general state of health.
The consequences of an excess of ascorbic acid:
- Destruction of blood cells.
- The simultaneous consumption of vitamin C and aspirin leads to irritation of the gastric mucosa, ulcer. Aspirin causes an increased consumption of ascorbic acid, which is excreted in the urine through the kidneys. This loss is the first bell of a serious vitamin deficiency.
- A high dose of vitamin C interferes with the absorption of vitamin B12, 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.
- Sweets and chewing gums with a high content of vitamin C damage tooth enamel, therefore, after using them, teeth are brushed and mouth rinsed.
- Overestimated doses of ascorbic acid slow down the pancreas, which is dangerous for patients with diabetes mellitus and people with anemia, thrombophlebitis, thrombosis. Vitamin C affects the formation of a separate group of hormones that exert pressure on the functioning of the kidneys and arteries.
Ascorbic acid is freely available in stores, pharmacies, so you can purchase it without a doctor’s prescription.
Excess vitamin C has negative consequences that are not inferior in deficiency to their severity.
Vitamin C in medicine
The beneficial properties of ascorbic acid have become the reason for its popularity in medicine. Vitamin C-based drugs are prescribed for a wide range of diseases:
- infectious diseases;
Doctors, having studied the patient’s history, the dosage is increased to 1.5 g per day. Intramuscularly, drugs are administered with acute vitamin deficiency, in other cases, the diet is regulated, dragees are prescribed.
An ardent supporter of the use of vitamin C for medicinal purposes was the famous doctor Linus Pauling. The scientist advocated the use of the substance in the treatment of serious diseases and mild ailments, but this theory has not been confirmed by the studies of physiologists. After increasing the daily norm, some patients showed serious problems caused by hypervitaminosis.
During pregnancy, additional examinations and tests are carried out, since a woman and a child can suffer. For pregnant women, it is not in vain that there are restrictions on the use of vitamin C, since in the early stages, an excess of it provokes a 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.
Application in cosmetology
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 cosmetics does not guarantee quality, since the quantity of the element that is not always used is enough to produce an 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 of components.
Due to the sensitivity of the vitamin to light and air, cosmetics based on it are available in sealed, tinted packaging with a dispenser.
Vitamin C-based facial cosmetics perform the following functions:
- protect the skin from exposure to infrared rays;
- synthesize collagen;
- restore collagen fiber;
- slow down the aging process;
- increase skin tone;
- prevent the appearance of age spots;
- relieve inflammation;
- refresh and improve complexion;
- strengthen vascular walls.
In winter, cosmetics are not enough to replenish vitamin C reserves, it is necessary to take vitamin-mineral complexes for the skin.
Ascorbic acid is useful for hair, it gives hair shine and silkiness. The liquid vitamin from the ampoule is added to an ordinary shampoo or hair balm. Nutrition along the entire length is provided during each wash.
Vitamin C Myths
Since the properties of ascorbic acid became known to mankind, myths and rumors accompany the vitamin. The miraculous properties of matter are legends that are far from the real state of affairs. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with popular and common fiction about vitamin C.
- Ascorbic acid protects against ODS. Everyone had to hear that at the first signs of malaise, you should immediately take vitamin C. Doctors attributed “ascorbic acid” to adults and children, assuring that soon they would forget about a runny nose and cough. It is not true. Vitamin A will help with colds only if it is taken as a prophylactic before the onset of the disease. Otherwise, people taking vitamin C get sick one day less than the average person.
- Does not protect the body from toxins. The results of clinical studies have amazed experienced scientists. Smokers cause irreparable harm to the health of their family members, turning them into passive smokers. If they regularly take ascorbic acid, the consequences of smoking are much less.
- Vitamin C does not affect cancer. Opinions of scientists regarding the effect of ascorbic acid in the fight against cancerous tumors differ. 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 tumor body, cancer cell survival is halved. The positive effect of the drug in cancer has to be proved by the results of clinical products, because each organism has exceptional features.
- With the help of ascorbic acid you can lose weight. Indeed, vitamin C improves the functioning of the body, the loss of several kilograms is possible, but no more. For weight loss, you need not only to 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 write down every meal (weight, calories) in it.
Excessive consumption, as well as the lack of an element, leads to negative consequences. It is not necessary to prescribe dosages for yourself, without first being examined by a profile doctor.