Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, antioxidant, and essential co-factor for collagen biosynthesis, carnitine and catecholamine metabolism, and dietary iron absorption. Humans are unable to synthesize vitamin C, so it is strictly obtained through the dietary intake of fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C. Although most vitamin C is completely absorbed in the small intestine, the percentage of absorbed vitamin C decreases as intraluminal concentrations increase. Proline residues on procollagen require vitamin C for hydroxylation, making it necessary for the triple-helix formation of mature collagen. The lack of a stable triple-helical structure compromises the integrity of the skin, mucous membranes, blood vessels, and bone. Consequently, a deficiency in vitamin C results in scurvy, which presents with hemorrhage, hyperkeratosis, and hematological abnormalities. This activity outlines the indications, mechanism of action, methods of administration, significant adverse effects, contraindications, and monitoring, of vitamin C so providers can direct patient therapy in treatment or supplementation where it is indicated as part of the interprofessional team.
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