Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, within the body, helping to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. People are exposed to free radicals within the environment from sunlight, cigarette smoke and air pollution.
The body needs vitamin C to make a protein called collagen, which helps to heal wounds. Vitamin C supports the body’s immune system allowing it to work properly protecting it from disease. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron.
Who benefits from Vitamin C?
Certain groups of people are more likely to be at risk of low levels of vitamin C:
People who smoke and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, in part because smoke increases the amount of vitamin C that the body needs to repair damage caused by free radicals. People who smoke need 35 mg more vitamin C per day than nonsmokers.
People who eat a very limited variety of food.
People with certain medical conditions such as severe mal absorption, some types of cancer, and kidney disease requiring hemodialysis