10 interesting facts about vitamin C

1. The chemical name of vitamin C is ascorbic acid, meaning acid against scurvy. You can read this name off food packages, as vitamin C is an excellent natural food preserver as well.

2. The Inuit never eat fruit, but they don’t suffer from vitamin C deficiency nevertheless. This is possible because they eat a large quantity of raw meat, with high vitamin content. Most of these vitamins are destroyed during cooking.

3. Vitamin C makes the skin firmer because it plays an important role in building up collagen. Without collagen, the skin dries out, loses its firmness and it becomes prone to blemishes.

4. Smokers need a 30% higher intake of vitamin C than nonsmokers. If they don’t consume this higher quantity, they may experience symptoms of scurvy: gum bleeding and gingivitis, falling out of teeth, inflexible blood vessels, numbing of the extremities and heart failure.

Source: Flickr.com

Source: Flickr.com

5. The officially recommended vitamin C intake is 70-80 milligrams; however, the Nobel Prize scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi, the discoverer of the vitamin, took 1000 mgs daily when healthy and 8-9 thousand mgs when he was sick. The scientist never fell seriously ill; he remained vivacious and active until his death at 93 years of age.

6. In the mammal kingdom only humans, several species of apes and guinea pigs can’t synthesize vitamin C, so they have to procure it from external sources. As a comparison, a cat’s body can produce 18 thousand mgs of vitamin C a day.

7. Among all plants found in Central Europe, buckthorn berries have the highest vitamin C content, and they are situated at the 5th place worldwide. As a comparison, 100 mg buckthorn contains 695 mgs of vitamin C, while the same amount of oranges contains only 53 mgs.

8. When Albert Szent-Györgyi first isolated vitamin C, he initially called it “ignose” or “I-don’t-know-what” sugar. The vitamin gained the name Ascorbic Acid later.

9. Vitamin C used for medicinal and food preservation purposes is mainly obtained from corn.

10. Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy. This disease took its toll especially among sailors, who used to have a very limited intake of food containing vitamin C during several month long sea journeys. According to estimations, about 2 million sailors succumbed to the disease until the 20th century. During the Seven Year War, the Brits lost 1512 members of the navy in battles; in the meanwhile, scurvy killed about 100 thousand members of the British army.

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