Don’t Forget the Vitamin C

Don't Forget the Vitamin C - Cover v2 (1200x628)

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for human health. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens. Vitamin C is well known for its antioxidant properties and its role in supporting the immune system. But it does much more in the body and tends to get overlooked. But did you know that vitamin C also promotes the synthesis of collagen and neurotransmitters? Or that vitamin C can support the health of blood vessels?

The Crucial Role of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, a major structural protein in the body that is the main component of connective tissues such as skin, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Vitamin C is required for the hydroxylation of proline and lysine, which are amino acids found in collagen. This process helps to form cross-links between the collagen fibers, providing strength and stability to connective tissues. Because of this, an optimal daily intake of Vitamin C is essential for healthy skin aging, wound healing, and joint health.

Beyond the Immune System: The Surprising Impact of Vitamin C on Neurotransmitters and Blood Vessels

Ascorbic acid also plays a role as a cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. It is involved in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine and the hydroxylation of serotonin, which are both important neurotransmitters in the brain and peripheral nervous system. Vitamin C also helps to protect the brain and nervous system from oxidative stress, which can damage neurons and disrupt neurotransmitter function. Additionally, Vitamin C is essential for the production of carnitine, which helps to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy production, providing the brain with a source of fuel for proper function. 

In blood vessels, Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO)—a signaling molecule that helps regulate blood flow and blood pressure. NO acts as a vasodilator, relaxing smooth muscle cells in the walls of blood vessels, which leads to an increase in blood flow and a decrease in blood pressure.

The Heart-Healthy Benefits of Vitamin C: A Look at Nitric Oxide Synthesis and Antioxidant Protection

Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of nitric oxide from the amino acid L-arginine, by acting as a cofactor for the enzyme eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase). Vitamin C also helps to protect eNOS from oxidative stress and enhances its activity, leading to increased nitric oxide production.

In addition to its role in nitric oxide synthesis, Vitamin C also has potent antioxidant properties, which help to protect the blood vessels from oxidative stress. By contributing to nitric oxide synthesis and protecting blood vessels, Vitamin C helps to maintain healthy blood flow and blood pressure, which optimizes cardiovascular health.

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