Vitamin C And The Human Body

What is significant of the vitamin C, lime water, our body and the scurvy disease?
Vitamin C and the Human Body
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Did you know that sailors in the English Navy are often called “limeys”? And what was so significant to “lime” that gained them this nickname? For start, the main reason for calling them such nickname started in the year 1795 when all sailors in the English Navy had to carry a lime water (or lemon juice) with them during their navigation in the vast ocean waters.

The next question you may ask is “Why did they have to do this?”

The answer to this question is to prevent the sailors from acquiring a horrible illness called “scurvy”. Scurvy is a disease that

is associated with vitamin C deficiency. Long before humans had learned to preserve vitamin C in capsules or tablet form, sailors had been accompanied the scurvy disease. The disease attacked sailors who sailed for long periods of time in the sea eating only meats and foods which often does not contain vitamin C. This is because they are not able to obtain this vitamin from fresh fruits and vegetables. And to prevent this, they need to carry lime water or lemon juice with them as a source of vitamin C.

It is obvious that lime water or lemon juice has something on it that prevents the disease. The concentrated lime or lemon in water had been proven to stop the occurring of the disease.

But what is it?

Today, we know that the lime water and lemon juice is packed with vitamin C (we know it also as ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is what the body needs in order to fight scurvy. Long time ago, although sailors are getting plenty of food to eat, they do not have access

to foods that were rich in ascorbic acid thus they are prone to this problem. This is because vitamin C is a delicate vitamin and therefore easily destroyed. Vitamin C can be easily destroyed by heat, exposure to air, food preservation or simply during storage. And because majority of the sailor’s food was always preserved and stored, the vitamin C that is stored in them were destroyed in the process.

But there is far bigger problem that is connected with the vitamin C and the human body. Majority of all mammal species had the ability to produce their own vitamin C through their liver organ so they do not suffer of vitamin C deficiency. But humans and few other mammals (apes, cats, guinea pigs, etc.) do not have this ability to produce vitamin C in their body. So we need to get them in the food we eat. The next problem is that our body does not have the ability to store vitamin C effectively. It can only store small amounts which is not enough for our body’s everyday needs.

Therefore, it is a must that we need to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C. Such foods include oranges, lemons, grapes, strawberries and vegetables. And today, aside from these foods, we now have the ability to supplement vitamin C in our diet in tablet, syrup and capsule form.

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