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Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2006 Nov;97(9):557-68.

[Vitamin C].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad de Dermatología, Hospital da Costa, Rafael Vior s/n, 27880 Burela, Lugo, Spain.


Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a hydrosoluble vitamin derived from glucose metabolism. It acts as a reductor agent required for synthesis of collagen fibers through hydroxylation of proline and lysine. It also protects the body against damage caused by the free radicals. Humans cannot synthesize ascorbic acid as they lack an enzyme called gulonolactone oxidase. Concentrations in plasma and leukocytes reflect the levels of the diet and body deposits respectively of this vitamin. Among foods with high vitamin C levels are tomatoes, potatoes, and citrus fruits such as limes, oranges and lemons. The current recommendation of daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg/d for men and 75 mg/d for women. Patients with chronic diseases such as cancer or diabetes or those who smoke need higher doses in their usual diet. Ascorbic acid deficiency gives rise to the appearance of scurvy. This disease is rarely seen in developed countries. The symptoms develop with plasma levels below 0.15 mg/dL. Scurvy is characterized by the presence of weakness, joint pain or skin lesions in form of petechias, gum bleeding, ease of developing bruises or delay in wound healing. The most characteristic skin manifestations are purpuric perifollicular hyperkeratotic papules and the presence of kinky hair.

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