Vitamin C Facts

Vitamin C Facts
Our bodies require many different things to run well, from energy (like sugar, protein, and fat), to electrolytes (like potassium, sodium, and magnesium), and minerals. One group of things we need every day is vitamins. They help run many different jobs in our body, from helping to make our food into energy to allowing us to think. Vitamins are found in lots of foods, but mainly fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits like oranges, among other things, helps with healing (like when you get a cut), our immune system (fighting off colds and infections), and keeps your teeth healthy. Read more below on this very important vitamin!
Interesting Vitamin C Facts:
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it disappears, or dissolves in water (like putting sugar into water, the sugar disappears). What does this mean for your body? This means that your body can't hold onto vitamin C very long, so you need to eat it every day!
In the 1700s, men in the British navy were nicknamed "Limeys." They got this name because they were made to eat lime juice on long ocean voyages. The reason? They were getting a disease called Scurvy, which is caused by not getting enough (or any) vitamin C. Scurvy causes bleeding gums, loss of teeth, and easy bruising. They started drinking lime juice, which prevented the Scurvy!
Smoking cigarettes, while harmful in many ways we can see, also is harmful to the body in ways we can't see. For example, smoking tobacco destroys vitamin C in the body!
Vitamin C even helps your brain! It is important in making a special hormone in the brain, called a neurotransmitter, that helps with brain function.
You can get too much vitamin C and get diarrhea and tummy aches. Most people get enough vitamin C in their diet, but there are vitamin C pills available for people who need extra.
Vitamin C can be lost from foods that are cooked, or are stored in water. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, and don't store fruits and veggies in water.
Vitamin C was the very first vitamin to be man-made, produced in a factory, and taken as a pill.
Other foods often taken on long sea voyages to prevent scurvy included sour kraut, lemon juice, and oranges.
Vitamin C is sometimes used to treat colds, and in very large amounts can sometimes be used as an additional medicine to treat some cancers.
Most plants and animals can actually make their own vitamin C. Humans, monkeys, and guinea pigs are among the very few that have to eat foods with vitamin C, as they can't make their own.
Since guinea pigs can't make their own vitamin C, like humans, they were one of the first really useful animals for testing purposes. Testing with guinea pigs actually helped discover what vitamin C was, and also helped prove how it could cure scurvy, which at that time was a very serious disease.

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