Vitamin C is an antioxidant and has multiple functions as a cofactor or coenzyme. It is involved in the formation and maintenance of collagen, a protein and an important component of skin, ligaments and bones.
Vitamin C helps promote the following:
healthy capillaries, gums and teeth
intestinal iron absorption
blockage of nitrosamine production
prevention of folacin oxidation
resistance against infections
immune system function
protection of cells from free radical damage
The primary form of Vitamin C used in supplements is synthetic ascorbic acid. Other forms include buffered Vitamin C and mineral ascorbates such as calcium and magnesium ascorbate.
As with other antioxidants, vitamin C may play an important role in the prevention and correction of dietary-born degenerative diseases. For athletes, these functions of Vitamin C are very important, especially as an antioxidant and collagen tissue formation and maintenance. Studies have also indicated Vitamin C's role in increasing muscular strength, reducing lactate blood levels and sparing glycogen. People who are involved in endurance sports need higher amounts of this and other antioxidants due to their increased oxidative stress.
A significant benefit from Vitamin C intake has been reported for certain people under extreme environment and stressful conditions. These people include skiers, marathon runners and soldiers in sub-arctic exercises.