Vitamin C is responsible for various physiological processes as a major enzymatic cofactor.
Here are its properties described in the scientific literature:
- Action on senescence
- Strengthening the immune system
- Improvement of cardiovascular health
- Reduction of the risk of chronic diseases
- Enhancement of iron absorption
- Protection of cartilage and improvement of skin health
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CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE ON VITAMIN C
- Vitamin C and immune system enhancement
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells against free radicals and strengthens the immune system, which can help prevent infections and diseases.
Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by promoting various cellular functions of our innate and adaptive immune system. For example, it acts as a cofactor with a key role in synthesizing enzymes and regulating genes. It supports the intestinal epithelial barrier function against pathogens and neutralizes skin oxidants, thus protecting against environmental oxidative stress.
A deficiency in vitamin C leads to impaired immunity and increased susceptibility to infections. In turn, infections have a significant impact on vitamin C levels due to increased inflammation and metabolic needs, which is why vitamin C supplementation seems to promote both the prevention and treatment of respiratory and systemic infections (1).
- Improved iron absorption with vitamin C
Vitamin C can help improve iron absorption in the body, which can be particularly useful for individuals with anemia and prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Dietary iron is absorbed by the intestinal mucosa from two distinct types of iron: heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron, of animal origin, is well absorbed and relatively unaffected by other foods consumed during the same meal. On the other hand, the absorption of non-heme iron, of plant origin, is strongly influenced by the composition of meals. A study conducted in the United States showed that ascorbic acid is a potent activator of non-heme iron absorption and can reverse the inhibitory effect of substances such as tea and calcium on this intestinal absorption. The improvement in iron absorption from plant flours is directly proportional to the amount of ascorbic acid present. Thus, ascorbic acid is important in combating nutritional iron deficiency anemia (2).
- Vitamin C for a healthy musculoskeletal system
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant widely used in the field of orthopedics. Current research on vitamin C examines its role in bone and tendon physiology, as well as in joint replacement and postoperative pain. Most laboratory and human studies associate the use of vitamin C with improved bone health and tendon healing (3).
- Vitamin C’s beneficial action on osteoarthritis and joint repair
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common degenerative diseases, particularly affecting the knee joint. Serum rich in growth factors (SRGF) is one of the biological compounds used for healing and regeneration. Its effects can be enhanced in combination with antioxidants such as vitamin C because this vitamin increases the synthesis of chondrocytes, which are the cells that constitute cartilage, and proteoglycans, which play a role in cartilage repair and hydration. A study examined the effect of SRGF serum in combination with vitamin C on osteoarthritis, and the severity of deg
enerative lesions was reduced. Moreover, the stage of osteoarthritis was significantly reduced in this group compared to the other group. The results of this study demonstrate the effect of vitamin C on joint repair and regeneration (5).
- Vitamin C, neuroprotective through its antioxidant effect
Individuals with stress-related disorders that can sometimes lead to depressive or anxiety states exhibit marked deficits in reward-related behavioral and cognitive functions. The possible neuroprotective effect of antioxidant compounds, such as vitamin C, appears as a possible adjunct therapeutic strategy for psychiatric disorders to maintain central nervous system homeostasis. Thus, vitamin C deficiency is widely associated with stress-related diseases. A study showed that supplementation with ascorbic acid produces an antidepressant effect and improves mood. It acts on the modulation of neurotransmitters, molecules that play a role in communication between the brain and the body, to achieve antidepressant and anxiolytic effects, as a deficit of these neurotransmitters can promote depressive states. Given that supplementation with ascorbic acid produces a rapid therapeutic response with low toxicity and high tolerance, vitamin C can be considered a good supplement for the treatment of mood disorders and anxiety, especially those refractory to current allopathic treatments (7).
- Carr AC, Maggini S.Vitamin C and Immune Function November 2017
- S R Lynch JD Cook, Interaction of vitamin C and iron Micronutrients interactions : Vitamins, Minerals and Hasardous elements, 1980
- B Oakes, I K Bolia, A E Weber, F A Petrigliano Vitamin C in orthopedic practices: Current concepts, novel ideas, and future perspectives Journal of Orthopaedic Research, January 2021
- Undurti N Das, Vitamin C for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension Archives of Medical Research, Vol.50 issue 2, February 2019
- S Azizi, A Farsinejad, R Kheirandish, H Fatemi Intra-articular effects of combined xenogenous serum rich in growth factors (SRGF) and vitamin C on histopathology grading and staging of osteoarthritis in rat model Transfusion Clinique et Biologique, Vol.26, issue 1, February 2019
- Dakhale GN, Chaudhari HV, Shrivastava M. Supplementation of vitamin C reduces blood glucose and improves glycosylated hemoglobin in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind study, Advances in Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Science, December 2011
- B Moritz, A E Schmitz, A L Rodrigues, A L Dafre, M P Cunha The role of vitamin C in stress-related disorders The Journal of Nutritional Biochemestry, 85, November 2020