Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

strawberriesVitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which is necessary in the body to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels, and aids in the absorption of iron. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood. Ascorbic acid is also a highly effective antioxidant.

An acute vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy. Scurvy leads to the formation of liver spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from all mucous membranes. The spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person with the ailment looks pale, feels depressed, and is partially immobilized. Symptoms of deficiency include dry and splitting hair, gingivitis, bleeding gums, rough, dry and scaly skin, decreased wound-healing rate, easy bruising, nosebleeds, weakened tooth enamel, swollen and painful joints, anemia, decreased ability to fight infection and possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism.

orangeAll fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C. Foods that tend to be the highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, papaya, mango, watermelon, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, red peppers, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pineapples.