Vitamin C is water-soluble, and probably the most famous of all the vitamins. Even before its discovery in 1932, physicians recognised that there must be a compound in citrus fruits preventing scurvy, a disease that killed as many as 2 million sailors between 1500 and 1800. Later researchers discovered that man, other primates and the guinea pig depend on external sources to cover their Vitamin C requirements. Most other animals are able to synthesise Vitamin C from glucose and galactose in their body. The most prominent role of Vitamin C is its immune stimulating effect, which is important for the defence against infections such as common colds. It also acts as an inhibitor of histamine, a compound that is released during allergic reactions. As a powerful antioxidant it can neutralise harmful free radicals and aids in neutralising pollutants and toxins. Thus it is able to prevent the formation of potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach (due to consumption of nitrite-containing foods, such as smoked meat). Importantly, Vitamin C is also able to regenerate other antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, the intercellular ?cement? substance which gives structure to muscles, vascular tissues, bones, tendons and ligaments. Due to these functions Vitamin C, especially in combination with zinc, is important for the healing of wounds. Vitamin C contributes to the health of teeth and gums, preventing haemorrhaging and bleeding. It also improves the absorption of iron from the diet, and is needed for the metabolism of bile acids, which may have implications for blood cholesterol levels and gallstones. In addition, Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of several important peptide hormones and neurotransmitters and carnitine. Finally, Vitamin C is also a crucial factor in the eye's ability to deal with oxidative stress, and can delay the progression of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vision-loss in combination with other antioxidant vitamins and zinc.
Owu DU, Obembe AO, Nwokocha CR, Edoho IE, Osim EE. Gastric Ulceration in diabetes Mellitus: Protective Role of Vitamin C. 1. ISRN Gastroenterol. 2012;2012:362805. Epub 2012 Jun 16.
The effect of Vitamin C administration on gastric acid secretion and ulcer in diabetic rats was studied. Vitamin C (200?mg/kg b.w.) was administered to both streptozotocin-induced diabetic and control groups orally for 28 days. Gastric acid secretion was measured and ulcer was induced using ethanol. Histological changes were observed in the stomach. Basal and stimulated acid secretion in diabetic control rat was significantly (P < 0.01) decreased when compared to vitamin C-treated diabetic group and control. Administration of Vitamin C significantly (P < 0.05) increased the histamine-stimulated gastric acid secretion in diabetics than control while reduction in gastric secretion by ranitidine was similar compared with control. Vitamin C treatment significantly (P < 0.05) reduced ulcer index in diabetic group and increased mucus weight when compared with diabetic group which was also confirmed with photomicrographs. The mean body weight of diabetic rats treated with Vitamin C was comparable to the control. The blood glucose level was significantly (P < 0.01) reduced in diabetic group given Vitamin C (8.9 ? 1.8?mMol/L) compared to the diabetic control (32.2 ? 2.1?g). It is concluded that Vitamin C is beneficial in improving gastric acid secretion and protects against ulceration in streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus in rats due to its antioxidant potential.