Vitamin C measurement is used to investigate hypovitaminosis and to monitor supplement therapy.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits, leafy raw vegetables, and tomatoes. Food intake of vitamin C is absorbed by the small intestine and stored in the adrenals, kidneys, spleen, liver, and white blood cells. Excess vitamin C is excreted in the urine. Vitamin C is important in maintaining cellular structures, in collagen synthesis, in maintaining capillary integrity, in wound healing, in the absorption of iron from the gut, and in resistance to infections.
Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C endogenously and is, therefore, an essential component of the diet. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of neuropeptides, the production of adrenal steroid hormones, the promotion of the conversion of tropocollagen to collagen, and the metabolism of tyrosine and folic acid. It also plays a role in the metabolism of lipids and vitamins and is a potent antioxidant. Specific antioxidant effects of Vitamin C include, inter alia: activating liver detoxification enzymes, blocking and destroying free radicals, preserving and restoring the antioxidant potential of vitamin E, and preventing the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Smoking reduces vitamin C levels. Inadequate vitamin C intake results in scurvy development in about 90 days. Scurvy is characterized by the inability to form sufficient intercellular substances in the connective tissues, which results in the formation of swollen, ulcerative lesions in the gums, mouth, and other tissues. Early symptoms can include weakness and easy fatigue as well as difficulty breathing and pain in the joints, bones, and muscles.
The need for vitamin C is increased in patients who regularly use aspirin, contraceptives, tetracycline, and various other medications. Stress and advanced age also increase the need for vitamin C.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Increase: Excessive intake of vitamin C supplements and medications
- Decrease: Alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption, pregnancy, kidney failure, scurvy, smokers
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.