Dr. Rowena Eadie
Specialist Family Medicine
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential vitamin, needed for the growth, development and repair of body tissues. It plays an important role in many body functions. Vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system, boosting the body’s natural defenses. It helps to strengthen the skin’s barriers, facilitates wound healing and collagen formation, and keeps bones, teeth and cartilage strong.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, helping to protect against damage caused by free radicals, pollution and chemicals. By assisting the body’s natural defenses to fight inflammation, it may decrease the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and possibly some cancers. Vitamin C helps to increase the absorption of iron from the gut, reducing the risk of iron deficiency.
Vitamin C is not stored in the body, so we need to consume vitamin C-containing foods every day to maintain adequate levels. One of the best sources of vitamin C is fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating at least 5 portions a day will provide a healthy dose of vitamin C, together with other vitamins and minerals. These are best eaten raw, as heat may destroy some of the vitamin conten,t and water soluble Vitamin C may be lost in the cooking water.
Some people take Vitamin C supplements. It is always advisable to check with a healthcare professional first to ensure they are safe to use, and what the correct dose is.