Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an important part of the human diet. Lack of this nutrient is believed to cause scurvy. Many individuals have this notion that unless they get this condition, they are in no danger of not contracting any disease or similar conditions that can bring their body function down. However, it has been proven through various tests that Vitamin C is necessary in one’s diet not so much as to prevent getting scurvy but more to keep their body functioning perfectly.
Importance of Ascorbic Acid
Unknown to the untrained individuals, vitamin C is involved in many internal human processes to maintain health. In stressful situations, our body produces more ascorbic acid to cope with the imbalance caused by stresses. If the body fails to do so quickly enough, there could be inadvertent biochemical effects. But due to man’s inability to produce enough amount of ascorbic acid in the body, it is important that we continually replenish our body with vitamins to continue protecting ourselves. Have you ever noticed how easily one contracts colds when they don’t have enough supply of ascorbic acid in their body? And mind you, even in large doses over an extended period of time, human beings are protected from adverse effects other vitamins can cause you when taken in such quantities.
Vitamin C Back in Time
Based on the wide distribution of ascorbic acid in almost all living species and organisms, one can safely assume that this vitamin has been in existence billions of years ago. From the simple plant to simple animals to the more complex species, it is produced and synthesized independently. There are only a few organisms that provide an exception to this fact where food intake is required to process this nutrient. With the exception of bacteria and similar organisms, both animals and plants have evolved into more complex organisms that make or take ascorbic acid for their survival.Remember too the time when you studied invertebrates and vertebrates whose major difference was the presence of backbone in the latter species? The vertebrates had a more developed muscular and nervous systems. These complex systems have made these organisms better at coping with its environment compared to invertebrates. To be able to accomplish this, high levels of ascorbic acid is necessary to sustain such activities using the organ systems.
Moving forward in time
We know that warm blooded animals have dominated all species. During the evolution of man’s ancestral primate, a lethal genetic mutation has made our liver unable to produce its own ascorbic acid. These mutations directly impacted the DNA sequence which determines man’s genetic makeup. This mutation destroyed our ancestral primate’s ability to manufacture L-gulonolactone oxidase, which happens to be the last step for the liver to produce ascorbic acid from glucose. To make up for this inadequacy, the environment have provided for good sources of this vitamin in the form of meats, insects and vegetation. To this day, man continues to adapt to this mutation with efficiency through diet and artificial vitamin.