Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Human beings, unlike most animals, are not able to synthetize vitamin C endogenously, and therefore, it is an essential component of their diet.
This vitamin is necessary for the biosynthesis of collagen (essential component of connective tissue, with an essential role in wound healing), L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitters. It is also involved in protein metabolism.
Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant, shown to participate in the regeneration of other antioxidants, including α-tocopherol (vitamin E). Through its antioxidant action, it can help prevent or delay the development of certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases that can be caused by oxidative stress.
Finally, it also has an important role in immune function and promotes iron absorption, mainly the type of iron present in plant based foods (non-heme iron).
It is important to point out that smokers have a higher risk of vitamin C deficiency.
The disease associated with vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy and it causes fatigue, generalized connective tissue weakness and capillary fragility.