– How does Vitamin C work in the body?


For example, everyone says eat fruit, vitamin c to prevent eye styes, chapped lips, etc or to take vitamin c tablets. So when it is in the body, how does it work? If one has very chapped lips for example, how will eating vitamin c help keep that down, or how does it work in the body to keep effects of lack of vitamin c at bay?

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Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, which is the basic building block for all of your tissues. Unlike most animals (but not all) Primates cannot manufacture Vitamin C and must get it from their diets, which usually isn’t an issue as most primates live in the tropics and eat a lot of fruit.

If you don’t get Vitamin C, you get Scurvy as a consolation prize.

There are two different ideas here.

One is what vitamin C does. Oversimplifed, it does biochemistry. It acts as a cofactor for enzymes, meaning it lets enzymes do their jobs, and it’s involved in some other processes.

The other question is how vitamin C helps. For that, it’s mostly just not true. Vitamin C deficiency is harmful; it causes scurvy, which can be fatal. But extra vitamin C doesn’t make us more healthy or heal skin more, and most American/Western diets aren’t deficient in vitamin C. It doesn’t help with chapped lips or with colds, except maybe minimally. All the vitamin C products in grocery stores and pharmacies are just benign placebos.