Vitamin C is an important and powerful antioxidant, along with vitamin A and vitamin E. Antioxidants help block the damage to our body caused by free radicals. Free radicals occur naturally inside our body when food is transformed into energy. Lifestyle factors such as smoking cigarettes and alcohol consumption can also cause free radical damage to our body. Free radicals are also by products of environmental factors such as sunlight exposure, pollution. The build up of free radicals over time may be responsible for the aging process and suppressing the body's immune system. Free radical damage has also been linked to a range of diseases such as heart diseases, cancer and arthritis.
Smoking cigarettes can lower the amount of vitamin C in the body. Therefore it is especially important for smokers to take vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C can help to reduce free radical damage from smoking.
Estrogen containing oral contraceptive pills are also known to lower vitamin C level in the body.
Vitamin C is important in the production of collagen, an important protein in skin, cartillage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also essential in wound healing.
Signs of vitamin C deficiency include fatigue, depression, impaired wound healing, gum disease, rough, dry scaly skin, splitting hair.