Vitamin C is important for the repair and growth of all the tissues in the body. It helps make collagen, which is an important protein that is one of the basic components in the skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also necessary for the healing of wounds and for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin C deficiency can eventually lead to scurvy – a potentially fatal disease that is featured in the history books as being prominent among sailors at sea for long periods of time. Its symptoms include gum bleeding and swelling, purple and bleeding skin, muscle and joint pain and tiredness – simply because the body cannot make collagen and maintain all its tissues. Scurvy was eradicated with the introduction of lemons, oranges and lemon juice in the naval diet but, occasionally, it still occurs in people with very poor or limited diets (uni students anyone!)
Vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant, which helps protect our cells, DNA and organs from free radicals – dangerous metabolism by-products that can cause considerable damage. Plus, vitamin C is essential to help your body absorb iron from the plant-based foods you eat.
The body doesn't store vitamin C (as it is a water-soluble vitamin) so you need to have it regularly.