Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an important nutrient and antioxidant that plays a key role in many functions throughout the body. It helps protect against cellular damage, stimulates production of collagen important for healthy skin and joints, aids iron absorption, and supports heart and immune system function. Vitamin C is water-soluble and must be replenished every day. Broccoli, red peppers, berries, melons, currants, Brussels sprouts, parsley, potatoes, tomatoes, citrus fruit, and strawberries are good sources of Vitamin C.
Some of the key functions of vitamin C include:
- Antioxidant Actions: As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C protects body cells and LDL cholesterol against damage by oxygen. Oxidized LDL is a harmful form that can contribute to damage to cardiovascular tissues. Vitamin C is also needed to recycle vitamin E in the body.
- Collagen Support: Vitamin C is needed to form collagen, thus is crucial for strength of body tissues such as muscles, bones, tendons, joints and blood vessels, and gums. Vitamin C also plays an important role in wound healing.
- Immune Function: Vitamin C stimulates the immune system by increasing interferon levels and enhancing the activity of certain immune cells.