Amino acid: One of the building blocks of protein. The term "amino acids" dates to the middle of the 19th
century. The idea that
amino acids are "Bausteine" (building stones) came from the
Nobel Prize winning
German biochemist Albrecht Kossel (1853-1927).
Vitamin C, an essential nutrient found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The
body requires it to form and maintain bones, blood vessels, and skin. Like other
vitamins, ascorbic acid is an organic compound. An organic compound is a
substance that (1) occurs in living things, or organisms (hence, the word
"organic") and (2) contains the elements carbon and oxygen (hence, the word
"compound," meaning combination of elements).
Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, one that cannot be stored by the
body except in insignificant amounts. It must be replenished daily.
Purpose and Benefits
Ascorbic acid helps produce
collagen, a protein needed to develop and maintain healthy teeth, bones, gums, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels.
Ascorbic acid also does the following: Promotes the healing of cuts, abrasions
and wounds; Helps fight infections; Inhibits conversion of irritants in smog,
tobacco smoke, and certain foods into cancer-causing substances; Appears to
dilate (widen, enlarge) blood vessels and thereby lessen the risk of developing
pressure and heart disease; Helps regulate cholesterol levels; Prevents the
development of scurvy, a disease characterized by weakness,
swollen joints, bleeding gums and loose teeth. Scurvy was common aboard ships in earlier times because crews traveled for long periods without eating fresh vegetables or fruit. Many sailors died of the disease. Scurvy is rare today;
Appears to lower the risk of developing
clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision; May help protect diabetics against deterioration of nerves, eyes and kidneys; May (or may not) inhibit the development of colds and decrease the intensity of cold symptoms. (This is highly controversial.); Aids iron absorption; and May reduce levels of
lead in the blood.