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What Does Vitamin C Really Do for Your Immune System?

Blog by Mingpei Li

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a type of nutrient found in foods. It is an antioxidant that protects against free radicals, which are molecules in the body that want electrons. They are harmful to the body because they steal electrons from vital cells, causing changes to the cells, resulting in increased chances of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Free radicals can be found in harmful foods such as fried food, alcohol, tobacco, and pollution in the air.

Luckily, vitamin C can be found in a lot of different fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach. However, cooking can decrease the It can also be taken in pills in most pharmacies. When vitamin c enters the body, it functions as an enzyme, lowering the amount of energy needed for certain vital cell functions. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron, which, in small amounts, is crucial to a body’s functioning.

Not enough vitamin C can cause problems, most fatal being scurvy (images on the left). Scurvy can cause fatigue, gum inflammation, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing, and corkscrew hairs. Severe effects include depression, anemia, swollen, bleeding gums and loosening or loss of teeth. If left untreated, scurvy can take one’s life. Too much vitamin C, on the other hand, can cause problems as well. It can cause diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, iron overload, and damaging of bodily tissues.

Altogether, vitamin C is a crucial part of one’s life and when there is not enough or too much vitamin C, there can be detrimental effects on one’s body. Maintaining a healthy diet and remaining educated regarding how vitamin C may affect other factors, such as cancer and medications can help ensure a healthy and long life.


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