Ascorbic Acid and Citric Acid

Vitamin C which is popularly known as ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin. In many animals, it is produced automatically in the body. But in humans, chimpanzees, hamsters, etc it is not produced. The vitamin has to be provided by nutrition or supplements, since it is essential to the body’s functioning.

It is present in foods like oranges, gooseberry, lemon, collard greens, kale, coriander, etc. This vitamin leaches effortlessly into cooking water. Care must be taken though, that foods containing ascorbic acid should not be left in the open, since exposure to air can reduce nutritional content. Cutting them up and leaving them uncovered also has the same effect.

Ascorbic acid is a very important vitamin, because it helps control a massive 300 plus body metabolism functions. Some of these include synthesising folic acid, phenylaline and tryosine. It helps in the formation of folic acid as well as the production of interferons, which are stress reduction hormones. Vitamin C is also responsible for tissue repair, muscle regeration, healing of wounds and bruises. Adequate intake of vitamin C ensures healthy gums. The functioning of the adrenal gland is also regulated by it. Sufficient intake also boosts immunity, and mitigates the symptoms of bronchitis.

Ascorbic acid could well be called a miracle vitamin. It helps prevent cancer to a large extent. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron into the body, enabling it to be used better. It also has the inherent capacity to react and combine with several harmful substances which are likely to be dangerous to the body, and render them ineffective, throwing them out. Consuming vitamin C in a sufficiently high dose can help remove the poison of even the lethal black widow spider from the human body.

Vitamin C helps prevents abnormal blood clotting. It helps heal bruises and cuts fast. It is also vital for the formation of collagen, which is a connective tissue. It binds the muscles together, gives shape and restructures bodily organs. Chronic eye diseases like cataracts can also be prevented by adequate consumption of ascorbic acid. It is also known to reduce LDL (Low density lipoproteins) levels, and raise the level of HDL (High density lipoproteins) in the body. This helps prevent heart diseases like artherosclerosis, which can lead to a cardiac arrest. High blood pressure can also be reduced by adequate vitamin C intake.

Citric acid
It is a weak acid, found in fruits like sweet limes and oranges. It is mostly used to impart sour, slightly acidic tastes to certain foods. Citric acid is present in many naturally occuring foods.However, its concentration is highest in the aforementioned fruits, comprising up to 10% of its dry weight. The acid may exist in a free liquid state, or have a single water molecule in it. At room temperature, it is found to be crystalline in nature.

Upon heating it at 175 degrees celsius, citric acid decomposes because of carbon dioxide and water loss. It can be used for the prevention, treatment and removal of dandruff. Dandruff is a scalp condition caused by defects in hair keratinisation. The acid helps rectify it, and hence is used in a number of anti dandruff shampoos and lotions. The citric acid used in shampoos and lotions for dandruff treatment are synthesised using fermentation processes with crude sugars. These processes are quite easy to implement and hence are widely used.

Citric acid is known to be an anti oxidant. Its properties help balance the acid-alkali ratio in food. The acids which are used for shampoos, etc belong to the alpha hydroxy acid group.

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