Vitamin C is involved in the formation of collagen and plays an important role in the defence against oxidative stress. Find out more about its role, the foods in which it is found, and the risks of deficiency.
What are the main dietary sources of vitamin C?
Vitamin C requirements can be met by eating fruits such as blackcurrants and citrus, and vegetables, especially parsley and bell peppers.
The list of foods with a high vitamin C content can be found in the Ciqual table of nutritional composition of foods.
Why is vitamin C important?
Vitamin C helps to strengthen collagen fibres, which form the connective tissue that supports cells and structures other tissues. It is plays a role in the synthesis of compounds involved in nerve transmission (e.g. noradrenaline). It protects tissues by capturing oxidising substances. Lastly, it facilitates the absorption of non-haem iron (found in foods of plant origin such as pulses and nuts).
What are the health risks in the event of a deficiency?
The disease most closely associated with vitamin C deficiency is scurvy. It manifests itself as bleeding gums, loosened teeth and joint pain.