Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the essential nutrients the body needs to maintain health. It is water soluble just like the B-complex vitamins, meaning, it must be dissolved in water for the body to absorb. The human body does not produce vitamin C, so people have to ingest it from food and supplements.


Studies have shown that it helps ward off diseases, fight cancer, increase resistance to stress and infection, hasten healing of wounds, formation of connective tissue collagen, protect arteries from damage, and keep the cells healthy. It was also found to be a good antioxidant. Smokers should also have more vitamin C intake since nicotine lessens its effectiveness in the body.


Supplements can be taken in the form of tablets, capsules, chewables, powdered or liquid. The dosage recommended varies depending on the health condition of the patient. Some pharmaceuticals recommend an intake of 500-mg tablet a day for an adult while children six to twelve years of age can take one-half of that 500-mg tablet. Others also recommend a 250 to 500 mg to be taken two to three times a day with meals. A dose of 1000 to 8000 mg is recommended by some researches for symptoms of cold.


It is said that for an intake of more than 200 mg, the rest are merely excreted from the body. On the other hand, Nobel Prize awardee Dr. Linus Pauling said that only 15 percent is eliminated from the body through urine for a 10000 mg dosage. In a 10-gram (10000 mg) a day dosage, his own study revealed that around 67 percent is absorbed into the blood stream, with 33 percent remaining in the intestines to destroy carcinogens.


Synthetic vitamin C was first manufactured in the 1930s through the Reichstein process that uses fermentation of sugar glucose. China improved the system in the 1960s using a two-step fermentation procedure. Corn is the plant source of commercially produced vitamin C. Supplements are sensitive to light and heat. Therefore, they must be stored in a dry place at a temperature of 30 °C and away from light.


Natural sources of vitamin C are sago palm and rose hips. The citrus group contains the highest level of vitamin C. Other fruit and vegetable sources are the following: oranges, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, strawberries, kiwi, mango, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, cantaloupe, turnip greens, spinach, red and green bell peppers, potatoes, winter squash, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, pineapple, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes. Beef liver also contains vitamin C in small quantity. Since it is sensitive to light, air, and heat, maximum benefit can be attained by eating fruits and vegetables raw and not too much cooked. Vitamin C in plants is easily lost especially during the process of cooking, processing and storage.


It helps in the absorption of iron (from food or supplement). However, people with hemochromatosis should refrain from taking vitamin C supplement because it will only increase the level of iron in the body. Supplement is also not advised for those with kidney problems. Some health and physical conditions would require a physician’s advise before taking in large dosages (1000 mg per day). In large dosages, side effects may be experienced, that include diarrhea.



 How is Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Manufactured? 

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 Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). University of Maryland Medical Center.