It’s common knowledge that vitamin C is helpful to our immune system and we often hear about it during the winter “cold” season. Did you know that most all animals make their own vitamin C and don’t need to obtain it through food? What about humans? This would have been convenient for sailors when they didn’t have access to citrus and developed scurvy.
Somewhere in the human lineage, we lost the ability to make vitamin C. We have all the genes to make it happen, but one is turned off or broken. L-gulonolactone oxidase, GULO, is the culprit. So why aren’t we extinct because of this mishap? Science shows that the mutation originally happened to a population of mammals who had a diet rich in vitamin C so the body no longer needed to make it and scurvy wasn’t an issue. We’ve evolved since then and don’t all live in climates where foods in vitamin C hang from trees. With that said, it’s important to eat foods rich in vitamin C.
Fruit and vegetables are important sources of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). It’s an antioxidant and plays an important role in the production of collagen in our bodies. This is a major player for ligaments, bones, skin, tissue, discs, tendons, blood vessels and more. Vitamin C also helps eye health. There are different forms of vitamin C on the market in the form of supplements if you aren’t able to achieve the daily recommended allowance in your diet. It’s good to know that some ascorbic acid supplements are harder for the body to absorb and some are less harsh such as liposomal. Check out this helpful fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health.
By the way, think scurvy is a thing of the past? It’s on the rise again in England. Between 2009-2014, hospital admissions related to scurvy rose to 27%. Grab a lime!
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