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.
Kashinakunti SV, Kollur P, Kallaganada GS, Rangappa M, Ingin JB. Comparative study of serum MDA and Vitamin C levels in non-smokers, chronic smokers and chronic smokers with acute myocardial infarction in men. 1. J Res Med Sci. 2011 Aug;16(8):993-8.
BACKGROUND: It is a well-known fact that there is increased oxidative stress and decreased serum antioxidant levels in smokers than in non-smokers. In this study, the aim was to compare the serum levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a lipid peroxidation product and Vitamin C, an antioxidant, between non- smokers (Group A) and chronic smokers (Group B) and also between chronic smokers (Group B) and chronic smokers with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) (Group C). METHODS: Thirty six non-smokers and 36 chronic smokers appropriately matched with AMI patients were selected. Thirty six smokers with AMI were selected from Hanagal Kumareshwara hospital, Bagalkot, Karnataka, India. Fasting blood sample was collected in group A and group B. In AMI patients, blood sample was collected before any intervention. Serum levels of MDA and Vitamin C were estimated. Statistical analysis was done by t test using SPSS version 11. The p< 0.05 was considered statistically significant. All the results were expressed as mean ? SD. RESULTS: The MDA and Vitamin C were compared between Group A and Group B and also between Group B and Group C. There was a significant rise in MDA (p<0.0001) and significant decrease in Vitamin C (p<0.01) in Group B compared to Group A. There was a significant rise in MDA (p<0.0001) and significant decrease in Vitamin C (p<0.001) in Group C compared to Group B. CONCLUSIONS: The increase in serum MDA level and decrease in Vitamin C was found in chronic smokers compared to non-smokers. It was also found that there is increase in serum MDA and decrease in Vitamin C in smokers with AMI compared with smokers without AMI, and the reason for this inter-subject variability of MDA and Vitamin C levels may be due to gene-environmental factors.