Nobel Prize winner Sir Norman Haworth studied the chemistry of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, at the University of Manchester in the 1930s. Sir Haworth’s research contributed to our knowledge of how vitamin C functions in the human body and how it affects our health. His findings and processes are still used today by food manufacturers and researchers alike. To this day, a research institute at the University of Leicester is named after him. The Norman Haworth Centre for Creativity and Well-being.
Haworth’s discoveries on Vitamin C
When Sir Norman Haworth began his research on vitamin C, it was a relatively unknown substance to most people. Scientists knew that it was essential to bodily health, but they weren’t sure how it worked or even what its full chemical makeup was. Haworth’s breakthrough came when he discovered that vitamin C is not a single compound but a mixture of several different chemical substances. He named the compounds, which include both water-soluble and fat-soluble compounds, ascorbic acid, and called the mixture “vitamin C.” Haworth’s groundbreaking discovery allowed vitamin C to be studied by scientists and medical professionals in a more precise and controlled way.
The Importance of Vitamin C in the Body
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients in the human body. It’s a water-soluble antioxidant that helps boost the immune system, promotes healthy skin, aids brain function, and even aids in the formation of collagen. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning that our bodies can’t make it on their own. We need to get it from our diets. Some foods are naturally rich in vitamin C (like oranges and bell peppers), but most foods don’t contain much at all. So, humans have to rely on vitamin C supplements and fortified foods (like cereal and orange juice) for regular doses. Because vitamin C is water-soluble, the body doesn’t store it.
Why is Vitamin C Important to Humans?
- Boosts Immunity: Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system, which fights bacteria and viruses that enter the body. These pathogens can trigger illnesses like the flu or a cold, so getting enough vitamin C can help reduce that risk.
- Promotes Healthy Skin: Getting enough vitamin C helps to promote healthy skin, which can help prevent acne and wrinkles. Vitamin C is also important for collagen production, which helps maintain healthy skin, muscles, and bones.
- Aids Brain Function: Vitamin C is used for brain function in a number of different ways. It may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as reduce the risk of stroke. Vitamin C also promotes healthy blood flow, which is important for a healthy brain.
- Aids in the Formation of Collagen: Vitamin C is a crucial ingredient in the formation of collagen, the protein found in our skin, bones, and ligaments. Vitamin C helps to keep our skin firm and healthy, which is important for your face in particular.
- Promotes Iron Absorption: Vitamin C can help promote iron absorption in the body, which is important for many people as anemia is a common problem.
How Much Vitamin C Do We Need?
There are no official numbers on how much vitamin C you should take every day, but most research shows that an intake of at least 500 to 1000 mg per day is healthy. There are many factors that determine how much vitamin C you need per day, including gender, age, diet, and general health. Some factors that might determine your vitamin C needs include having a cold, being pregnant or breastfeeding, having a high-stress job, living in a polluted city, or having specific diseases or health conditions. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables should provide enough vitamin C for most people. And although there is no official recommendation for how much vitamin C you should eat per day, it’s important to note that vitamin C is water-soluble, which means that any excess won’t be stored in the body.
The Danger with a Constantly Stressed Body and Vitamin C Deficiency
When we’re constantly stressed, our bodies don’t produce enough vitamin C. And when our bodies don’t produce enough vitamin C, we can be at risk for illnesses and diseases like scurvy, cancer, and heart disease. Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency can include fatigue, joint pain, bleeding gums, and frequent infections. Severe vitamin C deficiency can even lead to death. If you’re constantly stressed and don’t get enough vitamin C, you can help prevent these things by taking vitamin supplements and eating foods that are rich in vitamin C such as bell peppers, broccoli, kiwis, oranges, cantaloupe, and strawberries.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for a healthy body and diet. It has many benefits for the body and can help prevent many diseases. It is recommended to eat a balanced diet and get enough vitamin C through food and supplements.