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Free radicals vitamin C

Vitamin C is a very small and very important molecule, so important that all plants and most animals produce it themselves.
Man, monkeys and guinea pigs, however, are not capable of this, and are forced to obtain it through food (mainly fruit and vegetables).

The main job of vitamin C is to help certain proteins produce very important molecules that form the structure of our body (collagen), keep us active (hormones, including adrenaline) and give us energy (carnitine).

Therefore, if vitamin C is missing, there is trouble: the tissues weaken and bleed, teeth and hair are lost; you feel tired, depressed and sleepy; and finally, you die.
This is scurvy, the disease caused by lack of vitamin C.
Centuries ago, scurvy killed, for example, sailors who, on ships, followed diets devoid of fruit and vegetables for months and months. Today, however, it is a very rare problem. In your free time, when it's not busy helping proteins, vitamin C works on its own as an antioxidant. In this version, its very important task is to defend cells from oxidants, i.e. free radicals.
A free radical is a molecule that, due to an accident or a collision with an overly aggressive chemical substance, has lost some electrons.
Electrons are like gnats circling around each molecule. Despite being tiny and rather insignificant, electrons are the driver of almost everything that happens in the world of chemistry.
For this reason, a molecule that suddenly loses one of its precious electrons becomes in a bad mood, more or less like a person whose smartphone has just been stolen.

The free radical reacts to his misfortune in a disproportionate manner. To make up for the damage suffered, as soon as it encounters another (blameless) molecule, it snatches an electron from it and takes it away. This "theft" of electrons is called oxidation, and the "thief" (i.e. the free radical) is called the oxidant.
Once its electron has been recovered, the free radical transforms again into a molecule like all the others. In the meantime, the victim, now a free radical, in turn goes in search of another victim: thus begins a vengeful chain of oxidations which, left to itself, never ends.

In their impetuous search for the lost electron, free radicals look no further: even fats, proteins and above all DNA become easy targets, with disastrous consequences for the health of cells. In this way, free radicals contribute to some of the most catastrophic events that affect our bodies, such as the death of neurons in the brain and the transformation of healthy cells into cancer cells.
Antioxidants (such as vitamin C) intervene to defend the cells, superheroes ready to fight the very bad free radicals. Instead of responding to violence with violence, antioxidants choose passive resistance: they offer themselves as voluntary targets, against which the fury of free radicals can vent without causing damage.

Vitamin C, in particular, when it suffers a theft of electrons, accepts it with resignation, without seeking revenge at the expense of other molecules. By doing so, it interrupts the oxidation chain and defuses free radicals.
If vitamin C is not present in sufficient quantities in our body, it may be forced to focus on only one of its tasks (that of protein helper), neglecting its function as a cellular superhero. Without the protection of vitamin C against free radicals, the body could remain defenseless and suffer from, among other things, cancer.

Some studies have confirmed that those who have more vitamin C in their blood have a lower risk of developing (stomach) cancers and other diseases.
Yet, stuffing yourself with vitamin C pills doesn't help prevent cancer (or colds, for that matter). How to explain this paradox?

Probably, vitamin C alone is not enough to fight free radical attacks, and only a mix of vitamins, antioxidants and more (such as that found in fruit and vegetables) is truly useful.
This is why, for example, we should eat plenty of oranges - but not vitamin C supplements, which our body often cannot absorb well! – it is important to protect yourself

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