Nutrition Made Simple

VITAMIN C, ITS USES AND MECHANISM OF ACTION

July 30 2021

VITAMIN C, ITS USES AND MECHANISM OF ACTION

VITAMIN C, ITS USES AND MECHANISM OF ACTION

Vitamin C also is known as ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and an essential micronutrient which is most widely known for its antioxidants property which is due to its water solubility and the presence of a wide range of radical oxygen species ( ROS) which can be scavenged by it. Research shows the effects of vitamin C on a whole range of health issues such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, stroke, obesity and inflammation. 

The main areas of action of vitamin C are - It helps in preventing cold and flu when there is bodily stress, helps in immunodeficiency, chronic toxic or infectious diseases. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Vitamin C is good for alleviating the mood, supports skin and bone health, effective in a wide array of conditions such as histamine intolerance and its anti- effects. Some of the negative effects of vitamin C is that it may cause kidney stones, causes nausea, stomach upset and loose stools.

Functions of vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and an essential nutrient required by the body in carrying out a large number of important functions. Deficiency of vitamin C can cause serious health issues. Vitamin C can neutralise oxygen and oxygen nitrogen-based free radicals which makes it an invaluable antioxidant. Vitamin C also recycles vitamin E as well as BH4 which have important antioxidant and enzyme cofactor functions. 

Vitamin C is important in the regulation of many essential enzymatic reactions such as the synthesis of norepinephrine, carnitine, cholesterol, amino acids and several other peptide hormones. As vitamin C is structurally similar to glucose, vitamin C can replace glucose in many chemical reactions where glucose is essential and can prevent the non - enzymatic glucosylation of proteins. Vitamin C is very essential for maintaining the overall well being of an individual as it can neutralise free radicals and supports methylation.

Importance of vitamin C for brain health

The role of vitamin C in the important brain functions includes scavenging of reactive oxygen species, neuromodulation and angiogenesis which is the development of new blood vessels. During severe deficiency of vitamin C, the brain retains vitamin C at the expense of other tissues and can hold more amount of vitamin C than other organs such as liver and kidney. 

Vitamin C tweaks the neurotransmitters of the brain which are cholinergic, catecholaminergic and glutamatergic. Vitamin C plays an important role in the development of neurons by the aiding in the process of maturation, differentiation and myelin formation. Vitamin C is essential in maintaining the integrity and functionality of various processes in the vascular system which helps in regulating the brain functions. 

Vitamin C contributes to the process of neuronal maturation and the formation of myelin which is the electrically insulating layer present around the nerves. Vitamin C is also involved in the transmitter of signals throughout the nervous system by regulating the neurotransmitters. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the prevention of neuronal damage and induces the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor ( BDNF) thereby contributing to the defence process of the brain.  

Vitamin C activates the various mitochondrial functions by reducing the generation of radical oxygen species, stimulates the activity of manganese superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase and alters the mechanism of action of the electron transport chain. Vitamin C also forms a protective layer for the mitochondrial membrane and DNA from oxidative damage.

Collagen production

Vitamin C stabilises collagen and is essential for the formation of the connective tissue framework throughout the body which includes the skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Vitamin C acts as an electron donor in the process of hydroxylation of procollagen prolyl and lysyl residues and thus forms an integral part of the final steps in the process of collagen production. Deficiency of vitamin C in the body causes cessation of collagen maturation which damages the integrity of the blood vessel wall causing hemorrhagic reactions.

Bone health

Vitamin C is pivotal in the process of normal bone development by maintaining the optimal parameters of bone mineral density, fracture probability and bone turnover markers. Deficiency of vitamin C leads to an impairment of bone health and decreases the process of bone formation. In such conditions, the use of Alvizia vitamin C capsules as supplements prevents bone loss and improves bone health. These supplements promote skin rejuvenation and act as anti ageing agents.

The deficiency of vitamin C leads to spontaneous bone fracture as it leads to inhibition of bone cell differentiation. In postmenopausal women, supplementing with vitamin C in association with estrogen replacement therapy increases the bone mass. 

Skin health

Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Topical application of vitamin C is extremely effective as a rejuvenation therapy and it can also rectify the structural changes associated with the process of ageing. Vitamin C is also effective as a temporary treatment for melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

Vitamin C is essential for enhancing the bioavailability of other nutrients including vitamin E and non-heme iron. Vitamin C is effective in protecting the body against acute increases in oxidative stress in the lungs thereby supporting lung health. 

Vitamin C deficiency also called scurvy manifests symptoms such as lethargy, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, rash and more severe symptoms like anaemia, pain, easy bruising, gum disease, weak wound healing and depression. The use of vitamin C supplements as advised by a medical practitioner effectively reverses scurvy. 

Proper quantity of vitamin C in the body supports a healthy mood as it regulates the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine thereby checking the mood swings. Prolonged deficiency of vitamin C is associated with nervousness and emotional imbalance. Vitamin C supplements are known to reduce anxiety in diabetic patients and also reduces the severity of depression both in children and adults. Vitamin C also enhances the efficiency of antidepressants as found in some studies. 

Optimal levels of vitamin C in the body is associated with proper cognitive function in the older age group individuals and also reduces the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin C stimulates the functioning of the white blood cells thereby reducing the replication of viruses and in turn causes a reduction in the duration and severity of a common cold. Vitamin C also alleviates the inflammation in obese, hypertensive and diabetic patients. 


This article is the sole opinion of the author and Alvizia Healthcare holds no responsibility for the content. *

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