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Vitamin C is Ascorbic acids?

Vitamin C is an organic compound, meaning it consists of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules, vital for normal body functions. Although many animals can produce vitamin C, humans cannot, making vitamin C one of the 13 essential vitamins. The synthetic form of vitamin C produced in the laboratory is known as ascorbic acid, but because the structure and biological function of the two compounds are identical, the terms vitamin C and ascorbic acid are used interchangeably.

 

The body needs vitamin C for the production of collagen -- a protein that provides structure to skin, blood vessels, bones, ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues. Vitamin C helps to repair and maintain healthy cells which make it vital to wound healing. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant because it protects cells from the damaging effects of free radicals -- negatively charged particles formed during normal reactions involving oxygen. Vitamin C promotes the production of the chemicals in the brain, known as neurotransmitters, vital to normal brain and nerve function. Research on ascorbic acid confirms that the synthetic form of vitamin C performs these same biological functions.


The amount of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, necessary to promote these bodily functions depends upon your age and sex. To support their enhanced rate of growth, infants require more vitamin C than children, with those ages 0 to 6 months needing 40 mg per day and those ages 7 to 12 months needing 50 mg per day.Both natural vitamin C and synthetic ascorbic acid can prevent the onset of the deficiency disease known as scurvy. Scurvy causes weakness, anemia and a skin rash caused by bleeding under the skin. Doctors treat scurvy with vitamin C supplements that contain the synthetic ascorbic acid. Increasing the amount of natural vitamin C found in fresh fruits and vegetables can help prevent and treat scurvy.

 

Citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons and limes, serve as good sources of natural vitamin C. Other fruits that contain vitamin C include cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes and mango. Many vegetables also contain natural vitamin C including broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bell peppers, squash and potatoes. Because the natural vitamin C compound breaks down during processing, like cooking, you get the most vitamin C when you eat these fruits and vegetables raw. Juices, like orange juice, undergo the process of pasteurization to kill any bacteria present. During this process the natural vitamin C gets broken down, so manufacturers add in ascorbic acid to boost the vitamin C content.


 

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