Importance and Properties of Vitamin C

The importance and properties of Vitamin C are discussed in the post. Vit. C is also known as Ascorbic Acid. It is derived from glucose via the uronic acid pathway. Actually there is an enzyme called L- gulonolactone oxidase. The function of this enzyme is to converts gulocolactone to ascorbic acid. Basically this enzyme is absent in human beings which makes the Ascorbic Acid essential in human diet.

Properties of Vitamin C: Vitamin C is white crystalline substance which is highly soluble in water.

Vitamin C structure

Sources of Vitamin C:

Ascorbic Acid is found almost entirely in foods of plant origin. It is mostly found in fruits and vegetables. Animal products, legumes and dry cereals are deficient in Vitamin C. Vegetables rich in Vit. C include potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, capsicum, tomatoes, peas etc. Fruits which are rich in Vit. C are citrus fruits including orange, lemon etc., grapes, cherry, strawberry, berries, peach etc.

Vitamin C sources

Functions of Vitamin C:

  1. Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid is an antioxidant vitamin. Because it acts as free radical to prevent damage to cell by by-products of cell interaction.
  2. It serves as reducing agent in number of different reactions, like in cytochrome a and c of respiratory chain.
  3. It helps in formation of tissues and healing of wounds.
  4. It helps in strengthening the walls of blood vessels.
  5. It helps in teeth and bone formation.
  6. It aids in absorption of iron from intestine.

Excessive use of Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is very important for body requirements but on the other hand its excessive use can cause some problems in human body. If we use Vit. C in excess amount then it leads to excretion of urine as dehydroascorbic acid. Excessive consumption of vitamin C in our diet results in the formation of kidney stones. Excess use of Vitamin C rich foods cause stomach aches and diarrhea.

Deficiency of Vitamin C:

Deficiency of Vitamin C results in disease called scurvy. Scurvy is a disease which is characterized by spontaneous hemorrhages under skin, failure of wounds, fractures to heals, swollen and bleeding gums, muscle fatigue. Deficiency of Vit. C is also responsible for diseases like osteoporosis and anemia.

Stability of Vitamin C:Foods containing Vitamin C

Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C is most sensitive of all vitamins. It is easily destroyed by oxidation for example during preparatory operations like peeling, trimming, and size reduction. It is also destroyed by exposure of high temperature like during conventional cooking, baking, commercial sterilization and frying.

Storage of Vitamin C:

Foods rich in Vitamin C should be stored in cool and dark places. It should be handled carefully because rough handling can cause external damage. Cooking of foods containing vit. C should be in minimum amount of water for minimum length of time. Prepared foods that contain Vitamin C should not be left on hot plate for long time because this results in substantial loss of vitamin.

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