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Why do we need Vitamin C?

Most mammals and other animals can produce their own Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), but we humans cannot. This is why we have to get our vitamin C from our food. But what happens if we don't get enough?

The most widely known consequence of vitamin C deficiency is a disease called Scurvy. It was common in the 15th century amongst sailors who had no fruits or vegetables to eat. In fact, the chemical name for vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name for scurvy, scorbutus. Scurvy is the result of extreme deficiency. However, being even slightly deficient in vitamin C can cause widespread symptoms and damage throughout your body, especially if you are chronically deficient. If, like most people, you eat less than 8-10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, you are probably chronically deficient in vitamin C.

Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, which is needed in order to construct healthy bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Not only that, but collagen is essential for healthy skin, teeth, hair and nails as well. Vitamin C is also important for the synthesis of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter critical to healthy brain function and moods. Also, research has linked vitamin C to our ability to metabolize cholesterol and suggests that it has a role in regulating blood cholesterol levels.

Besides these specific roles in the body, vitamin C is also a very powerful antioxidant, protecting your cells and DNA from damage by free radicals. It has also been shown to have the ability to regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E! Not to mention, vitamin C boosts immune system function, protecting you from cold and flu viruses and bacterial infections.

So if you want to stay healthy, look good, and live long, make sure you eat lots of vitamin C rich foods or take a daily vitamin C supplement.

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