Dumaguing: Do your gums bleed?

IF SO, you might be suffering from "scorbutus," the Latin word from which the word "scurvy" was derived, meaning vitamin C deficiency, in which easy bruisability of the blood vessels leads to bleeding especially upon brushing the teeth. Mind you, if you think it is only vitamin D that affects the bone, vitamin C has a primary role in the formation of the basic foundation of all bones in the body, the so-called osseous matrix on which the minerals calcium and phosphorus are eventually deposited further making the bone harder, stronger and more solid.

Vitamin C came to the fore, attracted worldwide attention and prominence when the famous scientist Dr. Linus Pauling declared that mega doses of the vitamin would arrest or stop the common cold. As a result, folks all over started taking the vitamin to the point that a lot of them may have taken more than what is usual normal dose. MDR or minimum daily requirement is the least amount of a nutrient to be taken in order to prevent deficiency symptoms while RDA recommended daily allowance is the ideal amount of a nutrient for optimum health and well being. For vitamin C, MDR is 75-100 mg per day while RDA is 500 mg per day.

With the kind indulgence of our readers, allow us for some basic facts about biochemistry. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a very strong reducing acid, that's why, usually it is given together with iron supplements because it enhances the absorption of iron by reducing the ferric form (Fe+++) to its reduced more absorbable form ( Fe++). The sad thing is that being a reducing agent, Vitamin C is also easily destroyed by heat. Learning from this fact therefore, since the main source of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, it is advised that once harvested, they should not be exposed to sunlight for that matter, not overcooked, otherwise, the nutrients would be all gone.

The metabolic role of vitamin C is that of a co-hydroxlase, meaning it is required in the addition of hydroxyl group to lysine and proline converting them to OH-lysine and OH-proline, which are the active ingredients in the formation of collagen -- the most abundant protein in all connective tissues in the body -- bones, skin, hair, ligaments, tendons, cartilages, nails, blood vessels. Thus, if a person suffers from scurvy, his/her blood vessels are fragile and friable so that slight pressure leads to heir breakage thus, bleeding. if scurvy occurs early on in childhood, less than ten years old, there would be bone deformities especially in the thoracic wall, example would be pigeon-breast; or in the legs, example would be knock knees and bow leggedness.

Calamansi has been touted as a rich source of vitamin C. While this is true, there are other excellent sources, guava being -- on a size-for-size basis, the richest source; one guava equals 15-20 calamansi in terms of vitamin C it provides. Tomatoes too, citrus fruits like pomelo, oranges, lemons eaten fresh and clean provide your favorite Vitamin C. For those who take the tablet, makes sure though, on a full stomach, that is after meals. Being an acid, it might irritate the stomach and cause hyperacidity signs and symptoms. Happy eating folks!
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