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Ascorbic acid is a sugar acid with antioxidant properties.  Its appearance is white to light-yellow crystals or powder, and it is water-soluble.  One form of ascorbic acid is commonly known as vitamin C.


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 associated with a list of health related instances mentioned as follows:  (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.  (7)  Appears to lower the risk of developing cataracts, clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision.  (8)  Aids iron absorption.


Natural food sources for vitamin C include, but are not limited to:  A wide variety of fruits, including oranges and other citrus fruits, pears, bananas, many melons, strawberries, mangoes, other berries, rose hips, and acerola cherries.  Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, green and red peppers, cabbage, potatoes, squash, turnips, corn, and parsley are only a few containing significant amounts of ascorbic acid.  Other food sources like fish and milk contain smaller amounts.


The recommended daily intake for ascorbic acid varies depending on the individual’s age and condition, infants from birth to 1 years of age should consume 30 to 35 mg per day.  At age 1 to 3 years doses will increase to 40 mg daily.  Pregnant and lactating women are recommended to take 75-90 mg ascorbic acid daily.  Smoking individuals are advised to 100 mg per day, while diabetic patients, the elderly, and those suffering from stress are suggested to take up to 200 mg daily.  As for the average person, 60 mg daily is sufficed.


Some people taking large amounts of ascorbic acid may experience diarrhea, nausea, skin irritation, burning upon urination, and depletion of the mineral copper.  There is evidence that large doses of ascorbic acid contribute to the development of kidney stones.  In addition, patients suffering from iron overload or a disease called glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency (an inherited condition affecting the red blood cells) may need to monitor their intake of ascorbic acid according to a physician’s instructions.


Ascorbic acid can cause adverse reactions when taken with some drugs.  Therefore, patients taking drugs should always read warning labels and advisories on containers and printed pharmacy instructions.  If in doubt about a possible reaction, patients should consult a pharmacist or physician.




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