Vitamin C and its relationship to Anti-Ageing products.
Background, Technical study paper Part 1
ASCORBIC ACID, THE MIRACLE VITAMIN AND ITS FUNCTIONS FOR ALL BEINGS
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant. It neutralises free radicals caused by sun exposure. Radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. They are very harmful to the body as a result of their high reactivity. This type of reactivity may induce mutations and possibly cancer. Vitamin C, being an excellent source of electrons, can therefore donate electrons to free radicals such as hydroxyls and superoxides and “quench” their reactivity. Ascorbic acid may be sourced through many fruits and vegetables, some of which contain significantly higher levels of vitamin C than others, for example kakadu plum, papaya as well as vegetables such as broccoli and brussel sprouts.
The name ascorbic acid derives from the Latin of a-, meaning “no” and scorbutus, meaning “scurvy”, a disease caused through the lack of vitamin C. This disease potentially ranks as the second most important nutritional deficiency, after protein-calorie malnutrition. Scurvy, once common among sailors, causes bleeding and inflamed gums, loose teeth, poor wound healing, pain in the joints, muscle wasting and more.
Figure 1 A simple schematic and ball diagram of L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)1
The structure of vitamin C is simple (see Figure 1) and resembles a monosaccharide as it is derived from glucose. Most animals are able to synthesize ascorbic acid. Only primates, guinea pigs, and some fruit bats have lost the ability to synthesize it.
Ascorbic acid is a vitamin and vitamins are organic molecules that mainly function as catalysts for reactions in the body. Catalysts are substances that lower the energy and time necessary for the progress of a chemical reaction. Under normal circumstances these reactions may, in most cases, take considerable time and energy to achieve completion.
HOW DOES VITAMIN C ACTUALLY WORK
Vitamin C is water-soluble and very important to all humans because it is vital for the production of collagen. Inside the cell, it helps form a precursor molecule called "procollagen" that is later packaged and modified into collagen outside the cell. Collagen (refer to blog “The role of collagen and elastin”) is a gluelike substance that binds cells together to form tissues.
It is the most abundant of the fibres contained in connective tissues. Connective tissue gives the human body form and supports its organs.2 Collagen production increases skin thickness and density causing a plumping effect thus decreasing the appearance of wrinkles. Elastin is responsible for skin elasticity and for the repair of temporary creases.
Vitamin C is the only antioxidant that has been proven to stimulate collagen production. Linus Pauling wrote about the connection between vitamin C and collagen in 1986.3 His theory was that it would be beneficial for the body to absorb masses of amounts of the vitamin C in order to properly combat the effects of influenza and other ailments. This just happens to be a slight exaggeration on his part but in essence there is definite merit to his theory.
A molecule of ascorbic acid is much easier to absorb through the outer skin than proteins such as collagen and elastin. A major problem though with the ascorbic acid is that when it comes in contact with water it hydrolyses and breaks down to a straight chain sugar molecule as shown in the reaction in figure 2. Water will therefore divide the vitamin C molecule up into a glucose-type straight chain molecule and thereby render it useless for its intended purpose.
Vitamin C is also important in that it helps protect the fat-soluble vitamin A, as well as fatty acids from oxidation. A symbiotic combination of vitamins C and E results in a more powerful anti-oxidant than the vitamins on their own.
Figure 2 Reaction of water with L-ascorbic acid
WHERE DOES THE VITAMIN C HAVE TO BE FOR FULL EFFECT
Simply eating a large amount of fruit to absorb the vitamin C does not facilitate a proper use of the molecule. A small amount of the vitamin may enter the blood stream. It then needs to somehow reach the designated areas where collagen build up is necessary. This method is therefore too unreliable to be properly effective.
Rubbing dry L-ascorbic acid on the skin achieves very little except to irritate the skin. Vitamin C is an acid and therefore can have the same effects as that of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA, see Ortrons easlier blog on this topic)
Somehow the vitamin C needs to be "placed" under the skin to where the collagen and elastin are formed. Injecting the product is very invasive and not necessarily achieving its intended function.
Firstly in order for vitamin C to reach specific areas under the skin of the body, it needs to be micronised thereby reducing the particle size and increasing its reactive surface area and solubilisation. This particle reduction enhances skin penetration. The micronisation is carried out in an oil medium in conjunction with the vitamin C which helps to prevent molecular decomposition. This decomposition occurs through the heat generated while reducing the particle size. The other purpose of the oil is to coat the reduced particle hence reducing the likelihood of absorption of moisture from the air which leads to decomposition. This admixture can then be used in a skin care formulation cream which enables delivery of the vitamin C through the skin to the areas where it is needed.
There are many vitamin C creams on the market but very few actually achieve the desired results.
OTHER BENEFITS FROM VITAMIN C
A debate exists over the anticancer properties of vitamin C. However, current evidence suggests that the major benefit of ascorbic acid with regard to cancer may be in reducing the risk of developing cancer, rather than in therapy. Vitamin C can work inside the cells to protect DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid), the hereditary material in cells, from the damage caused by free radicals. Also, it can reduce the development of nitrosamines (amines linked to the NO group) from nitrates, chemicals that are commonly used in processed foods. Once formed, nitrosamine can become carcinogenic (cancer-causing).4
Part 2 of this study on vitamin C will be examining current methods of delivering the active ingredient vitamin C to areas where it is needed compared to the patented specialty skin care cream, the Transdermal Delivery system™.
The article will be titled “The development of TRANCEED ™ and the unique transdermal delivery system technology, Technical study paper Part 2”.
This article highlights how advanced Ortron has progressed ahead of the market in respect to skincare manufacture and product development and research, in particular regarding the exclusive patented products. These skin care products cater for the more boutique small businesses that wish to market a value added product which currently have no rivals.