By Estefania Jover



Today, we know that a lack of vitamin C in the human body causes Scurvy. But for centuries, Scurvy was a disease that caused numerous deaths among armies and the population of Northern Europe, especially in winter and during sieges. Moreover, during the era of exploration, it became a major enemy, as it was the primary factor limiting exploration voyages. In fact, Scurvy was proclaimed one of the leading causes of death among sailors, after two or three months at sea. Nowadays, this disease might not seem like much, in fact, its treatment is simple, but in those times, when its cause was unknown, Scurvy caused more deaths than storms or pirates.


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It is well known that in the 17th century, the Spanish used citrus as a method to prevent Scurvy. However, it was not until the 18th century that Dr. James Lind proved through a clinical trial that citrus fruits cured Scurvy. Despite these advancements, it took another 200 years to isolate the "anti-scorbutic" something from lemon juice that cured the disease. The isolated element turned out to be a 6-carbon compound similar to glucose, which was named ascorbic acid. 

Today, ascorbic acid is also known as anti-scorbutic vitamin, or as it is commonly known, vitamin C. This vitamin is water-soluble, meaning it dissolves in water. This causes any excess vitamin to end up in the urine, through which it is eliminated from the body. Although vitamin C is important for normal growth and development, did you know that humans are unable to produce vitamin C? Therefore, regular intake is essential for the body to maintain its small reserves full.

One of the best-known chemical properties of vitamin C is its ability to donate electrons, meaning it is a reducing agent, an antioxidant. This fact is very significant, as it allows it to act as an enzymatic cofactor and in some cases as a cosubstrate. Some of the enzymes that cannot function without ascorbic acid are those involved in the proper synthesis and production of collagen, as well as in ensuring that the amount of collagen produced is optimal. Vitamin C catalyzes the posttranslational modification of procollagen, to produce and secrete adequate amounts of structurally normal collagen, generated by collagen-producing cells, the fibroblasts. All this makes ascorbic acid essential for the production and synthesis of functional collagen.

As previously mentioned, vitamin C is water-soluble, a characteristic that allows it to be easily supplied through dietary supplements, since being water-soluble, it quickly enters the bloodstream. At Youthbites, we have incorporated Vitamin C along with hydrolyzed collagen so that the body can not only acquire collagen in a more accessible manner but also facilitates the synthesis of its own collagen by the fibroblasts.


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