Vitamin C, also known by its more scientific name, Ascorbic Acid, has long been known as an important element of human health; who among us hasn’t heard the ominous tales of medieval sailors crippled by scurvy? While you probably associate Vitamin C with powders and supplement tablets that you take to prevent the common cold and feel your best, you may be surprised to learn about some of the more interesting details about this wonder vitamin and ascorbic acid powder. Here are five of the most remarkable facts about Vitamin C.
1. The Hungarian Connection
You might think of Florida sunshine and juicy oranges, but the discovery of Vitamin C actually has a Hungarian history. Budapest born Dr. Albert Szent Gyorgi is credited with isolating Vitamin C in 1928, thus helping to provide an easy solution to the scourge of scurvy. He isolated this key vitamin from the adrenal glands of animals during his research of cell respiration. He realised that this vitamin allows people to effectively digest and metabolise fats, carbohydrates and protein, and his discovery is often cited a major milestone in the history of nutrition. Dr. Szent Gyorgi made vitamin C powders and supplements possible, and for this we owe him our health!
2. Some animals can produce their own Vitamin C!
Believe it or not, some animals can actually produce their own Vitamin C – in fact, as humans we are the exception. The process of an animal creating their own vitamins is called biosynthesis, and all animals other than guinea pigs, bats, primates and humans are able to do this. This is the reason why most people choose to supplement their diets with vitamin C powder.
3. Citrus Fruits are not the best sources of Vitamin C
When most people conjure up the idea of Vitamin C, they immediately associate this miraculous vitamin with citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits. That’s why it may surprise you that there are loads of other fruits and vegetables that pack in way more ascorbic acid. Topping the list? Red bell peppers, followed by guava, kale (and other dark green leafy vegetables), kiwi fruits, broccoli and berries – then oranges make the list!
4. Some people have a problem absorbing ascorbic acid
Certain lifestyle factors and health problems can severely limit an individual’s ability to absorb Vitamin C, leaving them at risk for myriad health problems. Some factors that may prevent ascorbic acid absorption include: heaving smoking, exposure to second hand smoke, consisting on a diet of mainly cow’s milk (this is usually infants) and those with malabsorption disorders, such as Crohn’s Disease. Vitamin C powder can help these people to reach their daily needs.
5. Inuit People – no fruits and vegetables, but also no scurvy!
Traditionally, Inuit people eat a diet rich in fats, fish and meat without a regular supply of any fruits or vegetables. Based on this information, you may suspect that they are stricken with scurvy, but this is not the case. The seafood that they consume, such as Arctic Char, is rich in ascorbic acid, meaning that they get a hefty dose with their regular diet.