Vitamin C and Cellular Energy Production


Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that the human body requires for a wide range of functions. Vitamin C, taken in the diet or in vitamin C supplements, promotes wound healing, supports the immune system and is required for proper function of the brain cells. In addition, research indicates vitamin C affects energy production in the body’s cells.

The human body is an electrical system. Body cells use chemical messengers to communicate and control various functions such as growth, repair and the production of important enzymes and hormones. Individual cells have what is known as electrical potential. Each cell is surrounded by a thin membrane that allows ions of minerals like sodium and potassium to cross back and forth based on the concentrations on each side of the membrane. The mitochondria – structures inside the cells – are like tiny powerhouses that regulate energy production. Basically, each cell is a battery that can produce or accept an electrical charge depending on the concentrations of its ions. When vitamin C becomes depleted in the cells, the electrical potential of the cells drops.

Having adequate amounts of vitamin C in the body is critical for health at the cellular level. Humans need at least 40 to 120 milligrams of vitamin C every day and many scientists think higher doses are beneficial. Foods like peppers and citrus supply vitamin C, as do vitamin C supplements.