Ascorbic acid when ionized is known as ascorbate and we popularly know it as Vitamin C. This chemical nutrient is obtainable from external sources in human beings. This is believed to be due to the loss of the primates’ ability to synthesize this Vitamin within their bodies, though research has shown that some time before evolution, they were able to endogenously produce the nutrient and acid.
Vitamin C is required in the bodies of all animals as it is responsible for a number of internal processes and the lack of it may lead to a serious case of a disease known as scurvy within the human body. The signs of this disease include; general body weakness, lethargy, weakening of the tissues and the capillaries becoming prone to damage.
The ascorbic acid is actively transported into the body and may also diffuse into the system. Its main occurrence is where we find it in high concentrations in the body organs such as eyes, pituitary and adrenal glands, the brain as well as the white blood cells. Fewer instances may be obtained in saliva and red blood cells.
Studies have shown that the greatest need for Vitamin C is in the range of age group starting from nineteen years of age and particularly being male. Smokers within this age group are said to need as much as thirty-five milligrams more of the vitamin compared to their non-smoking counterparts.
Some of the roles played by Vitamin C in the body include biological processes such as metabolism and the re-manufacturing of other oxidants as it is an oxidant in itself. It also helps the body quickly absorb the special iron component that is found in organic foods.
Perhaps of note would be the role that Vitamin C plays in the synthetic process of collagen that we need in the body for the effective connecting tissue. It is perhaps this process that we mostly know from most Vitamins as it is invariably what makes the skin return to its place, or a wound quickly heal in most animals.
Because the nutrient or ascorbic acid is taken by supplement either directly in pills or through foods containing it, it would be important to know its major properties.
Ascorbic acid can be easily dissolved in water thus steaming and boiling the foods rich in it would lessen the value of ascorbic acids before the food is ingested.
The concentrations of the acid may be reduced by the storing of containing foods for long periods of time.
The ascobate would also be quickly dissipated by high temperatures. It is therefore, to our advantage that most food sources of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables that we eat raw or at most easily cook so may retain most of the Vitamin inherent in them.
These foods include but are not limited to;
- Brussel sprouts
Conclusively, most citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C. Persons suffering from a deficiency in Vitamin C may have up to a month before the effects leading to scurvy begin to take root. At this stage, phamaceutical supplements are necessary as these contain high values of concentration of the nutrient.