Vitamin C is the first thing many people reach for when a cold strikes.
This important water-soluble vitamin helps to form the proteins that make skin, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons.
It also aids in healing wounds and repairing cartilage, bones and teeth.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C can block some of the damage caused by free radicals that would otherwise lead to aging, certain cancers and heart disease.
Vitamin C was discovered as a way to combat scurvy from malnutrition during the 1930s. It is effective because it helps the body to efficiently convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into usable energy.
Not getting enough vitamin C can harm the body.
People who do not get the recommended daily intake of vitamin C may have difficulty healing wounds or battling infections.
They may also experience gingivitis, joint pain, dry skin and weakened tooth enamel.
A lack of vitamin C can even cause a slower metabolism and weight gain.
Taking in excessive amounts of vitamin C is unlikely to do much harm because it cannot be stored by the body. However, ingesting a large amount of vitamin C can certainly lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Required daily dosages of vitamin C are dependant on age.