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Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is 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. Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, one that cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts. It must be replenished daily. 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:

  • Promotes the healing of cuts, abrasions and wounds
  • Helps fight infections
  • Inhibits conversion of irritants in smog, tobacco smoke, and certain foods into cancer-causing substances
  • Appears to dilate (widen, enlarge) blood vessels and thereby lessen the risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Helps regulate cholesterol levels
  • 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
  • Appears to lower the risk of developing cataracts, clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision
  • May help protect diabetics against deterioration of nerves, eyes and kidneys.
  • Inhibits the development of colds and decrease the intensity of cold symptoms (in high doses of the ascorbate form)
  • Aids iron absorption
  • May reduce levels of lead in the blood



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