The Top Food sources High in L-ascorbic acid — and Why the Supplement Is So Basic

The Hungarian organic chemist Albert Szent-Györgyi found L-ascorbic acid during the 1930s — many years after multiple million mariners passed on from a grim illness they probably might have fought off with additional products of the soil on board transport. According to the American Chemical Society, that disease was scurvy, and it was unknown for centuries that a lack of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, was to blame. Vitamin C can be found in sufficient amounts in the majority of produce to prevent such severe deficiencies.

What’s the significance of vitamin C? According to Marisa Moore, RDN, an Atlanta-based nutritionist, the vitamin is essential for the maintenance of tissues, the health of bones, and the protection of cells and blood vessels from damage.

She asserts, “Vitamin C is a nutrient that we need for so many processes in the body.” Additionally, it is one of those vital vitamins that our bodies are unable to produce.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin C can help the body absorb iron, support the immune system, and help regenerate cells due to its potent antioxidant properties. Other benefits of vitamin C that have been touted include lowering the risk of heart disease, protecting against eye diseases like macular degeneration, and improving memory in conditions like dementia.

Your body literally crumbles without vitamin C. According to the Science History Institute, when vitamin C deficiency was more common, it caused gum bleeding and tooth loss. Internal hemorrhaging could even cause death as a result of the deficiency. Ships were stocked with limes when doctors discovered that citrus fruits helped prevent scurvy. ( This is how sailors were referred to as “limey” in the past.)

You can definitely relax — your possibilities getting scurvy today are probably nothing. It’s something that, at least in developed nations, we don’t really think about because so many of the foods we eat every day contain vitamin C. There are also numerous vitamin C-containing multivitamins and supplements, but Moore suggests getting nutrients from whole foods. Dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the FDA states that they are distinct from drugs in that they are not “intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure diseases.”



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