Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy body function. It is an antioxidant, supports the immune system, maintains the integrity of blood vessels and connective tissue and much more. Our bodies need a regular renewable source of vitamin C because we can’t make it ourselves.
Our bodies need a regular renewable source of vitamin C because, unlike most animals, we humans can’t make it ourselves. It is a water soluble nutrient so not able to be absorbed into our fatty tissues. Therefore on a daily basis we need to obtain adequate amounts through our food intake, and when necessary from dietary supplements.
Vitamin C Benefits
Vitamin C has many important functions in key areas of the body:
- it is an antioxidant, controlling free radical damage to cells
- it supports the immune system and maintains integrity of blood vessels and connective tissue
- it is an essential nutrient for healthy adrenal gland function
- it has anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory actions
Vitamin C performs so many direct and indirect actions in humans that a deficiency has extremely wide ranging implications.
Vitamin C Side Effects and Contraindications
Vitamin C is extremely safe. Our body adjusts its vitamin C absorption according to need. Any dietary excess is excreted via the kidneys and in large supplementary doses the unabsorbed excess is flushed out via the lower bowel in a moderate form of diarrhoea – a short term balancing mechanism.
The ascorbic acid form of vitamin C may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, whereas an ascorbate form is generally well tolerated.
In cases of pre-existing kidney disease or renal failure vitamin C intake needs to be managed carefully. Caution is advised in cases of hemochromatosis because vitamin C enhances iron absorption.