Supplements for Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic Acid, also known as Vitamin C, is an important constituent in our daily diets. The sourness in foods like lemons, gooseberry, oranges, limes, etc is provided by Ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid supplements are the most popularly used in the United States and Europe. It is quite a controversial nutrient, in itself. This is because several researchers, scientists and doctors have different opinions on what the ideal intake amount should be. But nobody can deny its importance for the human body.

Sources of Ascorbic acid in food:

According to common myths, oranges, grapefruit and lemons are sources of ascorbic acids. But what many people are ignorant about is that vegetables like coriander, fenugreek, broccoli, bell peppers, brussels sprouts and even potatoes are sources of high amounts of vitamin C. It is important to ensure however, that food containing vitamin C are not left in the open, exposed to air. This is because leaving it uncovered causes its oxidation, hence making the food lose much of its vitamin content. An example is sliced cucumbers. If left in the open, a cucumber loses nearly half of its vitamin content than if eaten fresh. That too, in the short span of about three hours. A high ascorbic acid level containing fruit- the cantaloupe- loses 40% of its vitamin content if left uncovered, even in a refrigerator. Hence, it is important to consume ascorbic acid containing foods fresh. This is precisely the reason why most people prefer to consume ascorbic acid supplements rather than fruits and vegetables.

Signs and symptoms of ascorbic acid deficiency:

Scurvy is a disease which is caused by ascorbic acid deficiency in the body. Other animals can produce vitamin C on their own, but humans cannot. Hence, it is important to obtain an optimum dose of the same through food sources or supplements. The classic symptoms of scurvy are bleeding gums, unexplained lacerations on the skin, poor wound healing. Hyper irritability and even depression can be caused due to lack of vitamin C in the human body.

The disease of scurvy has shaped up the course of history in European countries like Greece, Britain, France, etc. Between the years 1556- 1887 there were a whopping 114 epidemics of scurvy in these regions. The cause was traced to the lack of availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in that time period. Many a ships’ crew have been struck with the disease due to lack of healthy food and provisions.

Some enterprising captains however, carried lime juice as a part of their rations and hence helped their entire crew to stay safe from the disease.

Proper consumption of vitamin C or ascorbic acid supplements also help in the formation of healthy white blood corpuscles which are vital to the body’s immune system. Colds, coughs and sore throats can be prevented. For this, one must ensure one consumes a lot of fresh and preferably organic produce of fruits and vegetables.

Diseases caused due to overconsumption of vitamin C:

An incredible thing is that no diseases are caused due to excessive consumption of ascorbic acid supplements. This is because it is a water soluble nutrient which can be washed out of the body, when it is present in excess.

In other words, you can eat all the vitamin C that you want without worrying about the consequences. This is easier said than done however, because a very few foods occur naturally which have vitamin C as the sole nutrient. And consuming foods which have a combination of other vitamins and minerals apart from ascorbic acid can have a negative effect on the body, when consumed in excess.

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