- Ascorbic acid
- : Vitamin C, an essential nutrient found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The body requires it to form and maintain bones, blood vessels, and skin. Like other vitamins, ascorbic acid is an organic compound. An organic compound is a substance that (1) occurs in living things, or organisms (hence, the word "organic") and (2) contains the elements carbon and oxygen (hence, the word "compound," meaning combination of elements). Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, one that cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts. It must be replenished daily. Purpose and Benefits Ascorbic acid helps produce collagen, a protein needed to develop and maintain healthy teeth, bones, gums, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels. Ascorbic acid also does the following: 1. Promotes the healing of cuts, abrasions and wounds. 2. Helps fight infections. 3. Inhibits conversion of irritants in smog, tobacco smoke, and certain foods into cancer-causing substances. 4. Appears to dilate (widen, enlarge) blood vessels and thereby lessen the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. 5. Helps regulate cholesterol levels. 6. Prevents the development of scurvy, a disease characterized by weakness, fatigue, anemia, swollen joints, bleeding gums and loose teeth. Scurvy was common aboard ships in earlier times because crews traveled for long periods without eating fresh vegetables or fruit. Many sailors died of the disease. Scurvy is rare today. 7. Appears to lower the risk of developing cataracts, clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision. 8. May help protect diabetics against deterioration of nerves, eyes and kidneys. 9. May (or may not) inhibit the development of colds and decrease the intensity of cold symptoms. (This is highly controversial.) 10. Aids iron absorption. 11. May reduce levels of lead in the blood. Food Sources Fruits: oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangerines, pears, bananas, melons, papayas, strawberries, mangos, blackberries, blueberries, kiwis, pineapples, watermelons, raspberries, cranberries, cantaloupes, rose hips, acerola cherries. Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, green peppers, red peppers, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, peas, turnips, turnip greens, onions, corn, pumpkins, carrots, parsley, sauerkraut. Herbs: garlic, watercress. Other sources: fish and milk (occurs in small amounts). Recommended Daily Intake in Milligrams Infants from birth to 1 year: 30 to 35 mg Babies 1 to 3 years: 40 mg Children 4 to 10: 45 mg Pregnant women: 75-90 Lactating women: 75-90 Smokers: 100 mg Diabetics, elderly persons, patients suffering from stress or allergies: up to 200 mg as determined by a physician All others: 60 mg (unless a physician indicates otherwise) A milligram equals 1/1000 of a gram. A gram equals .0353 of an ounce.
* * *Used in preventing scurvy, as a strong reducing agent, and as an antioxidant. SYN: antiscorbutic vitamin, cevitamic acid, vitamin C. [G. a- priv. + Mod.L. scorbutus, scurvy, fr. Germanic]
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* * *ascor·bic ac·id (ə-skorґbik) 1. vitamin C; a water-soluble vitamin found in many fruits and vegetables. Ascorbic acid is required for the optimal function of a number of enzymes; deficiency causes scurvy and poor wound repair. Called also cevitamic acid. 2. [USP] a preparation of ascorbic acid used as an antiscorbutic and nutritional supplement, as an adjunct to improve absorption in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia and to improve chelation during deferoxamine therapy for chronic iron toxicity, and for the treatment of methemoglobinemia; administered orally or by intravenous or intramuscular injection. Ascorbic acid is also used as an adjunct in the sodium chromate Cr 51 labeling of red blood cells.
Medical dictionary. 2011.