Vitamin C

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate) is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus and other fruits, berries and vegetables. It is also a generic prescription medication and in some countries is sold as a non-prescription dietary supplement. As a therapy, it is used to prevent and treat scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue, the formation of collagen, and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters. It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune system function. It also functions as an antioxidant. Vitamin C may be taken by mouth or by intramuscular, subcutaneous or intravenous injection. Various health claims exist on the basis that moderate vitamin C deficiency increases disease risk, such as for the common cold, cancer or COVID-19. There are also claims of benefits from vitamin C supplementation in excess of the recommended dietary intake for people who are not considered vitamin C deficient. Vitamin C is generally well-tolerated. Large doses may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, trouble sleeping, and flushing of the skin. The United States Institute of Medicine recommends against consuming large amounts.: 155–165 Most animals are able to synthesize their own vitamin C. However, apes (including humans) and monkeys (but not all primates), most bats, most fish, some rodents, and certain other animals must acquire it from dietary sources because a gene for a synthesis enzyme has mutations that render it dysfunctional.

Vitamin C was discovered in 1912, isolated in 1928, and in 1933, was the first vitamin to be chemically produced. Partly for its discovery, Albert Szent-Györgyi was awarded the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


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