A Moment of Science

Vitamin C and Collagen

You’ve probably noticed just how big Vitamin C is these days. It’s in health drinks, health bars, throat lozenges, you name it. Have you heard, though, that vitamin C is put into products like skin creams too? Just what does vitamin C have to do with skin?

Vitamin C does a lot of good things for the body. It prevents diseases like scurvy, can lower the risk of certain forms of heart disease, and it’s beneficial to people with anemia and iron deficiency. But perhaps one of its most important functions is its role in the production of collagen.

Collagen is a protein that works like glue to bind cells together. It’s the most abundant of fibers in our connective tissue, which gives our bodies form and support. Collagen is found in the connective tissue of our skin, teeth, bones, organs, and cartilage. Collagen keeps our skin firm and resilient, protecting it from wrinkling.

The role of vitamin C in the production of collagen is to interact with amino acids within collagen cells. It adds hydrogen and oxygen to those amino acids, so that they may do their part in collagen production. If you don’t get the proper amount of vitamin C, collagen production will slow. A decline in collagen production will not only make skin more susceptible to wrinkles, but it might also make it more susceptible to bruising.

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