Vitamin C: what you need to know
The human body was once able to produce vitamin C itself. Most mammals can do this to this day. But why did humans lose the ability to produce vitamin C in the course of evolution? Health…
In the past, people did not have to take vitamin C
The human body was once able to produce vitamin C itself. Most mammals can do this to this day. But why did humans lose the ability to produce vitamin C in the course of evolution? We can only speculate about this, for example that there was an oversupply of foods rich in vitamin C in nature, so that humans could do without this ability.
It is interesting, however, that animals that can produce vitamin C themselves produce many times the amount of vitamin C that humans consume today through food: several grams per day and in stressful situations they can increase production tenfold ( 36 ). Linus Pauling also concluded from this that the human vitamin C requirement is much higher than we think and, above all, much higher than we consume with the obligatory apple per day and a few leaves of lettuce. Let’s first look at the tasks of vitamin C, then the current knowledge about the right dose.
The tasks of vitamin C
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a very important vitamin. Most people associate it with some cold protection and boosting of the immune system. But vitamin C has many other tasks in the body:
- Vitamin C strengthens the immune system: Vitamin C is involved in strengthening the immune system so that it can protect the body against pathogens, cell degeneration, radiation, etc.
- Vitamin C is an important antioxidant: It intercepts free radicals in the blood, in the brain, in the body cells and directly in the cell nucleus and renders them harmless. Otherwise, the free radicals would damage cells and tissues.
- Vitamin C strengthens the connective tissue: Vitamin C fuses protein and other substances into collagen fibers and thus strengthens the connective tissue. Collagen ensures the elasticity of skin, ligaments, tendons and blood vessel walls as well as the strength of teeth and bones. Scar tissue is also made of collagen, which is why vitamin C is so important for wound healing.
- Vitamin C serves to protect the vessels: collagen is an important component of the vessel walls, so vitamin C makes a significant contribution to healthy and elastic vessels. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C also protect the vessels and prevent cracks from forming in the blood vessel walls, whereupon harmful deposits would form there. Vitamin C even has a blood-thinning effect and therefore prevents all diseases associated with arteriosclerosis (high blood pressure, angina pectoris, heart attack, stroke, heart attacks).
- Vitamin C improves calcium and iron absorption: Calcium and iron are better absorbed when combined with vitamin C. Because vitamin C converts the two substances in the intestine into more readily available forms and thus ensures that they get into the bloodstream more easily.
- Vitamin C is important for the effectiveness of some hormones: The hypothalamus in the brain is the control center for hormone production. Vitamin C is involved in a process in the hypothalamus that is essential for some hormones to be effective. For example, vitamin C is B. important for the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine and for the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.
- Vitamin C detoxifies: Vitamin C activates the liver enzymes responsible for breaking down toxins. As a result, it can render toxins such as cyanide, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde harmless, as well as nitrosamines and nicotine.
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