Vitamin C Test
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is a water soluble vitamin, which is not produced in the human body yet is essential to its functioning. It is available through dietary sources, with citrus fruits being the major sources of Vitamin C. It is helpful in protein metabolism and is necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, L-carnitine, and collagen in the body, as well as in the regeneration of vitamin E. It also plays a pivotal role in immune system function and also in the absorption of non-haeme iron. An assessment of the levels of vitamin C helps in the blood proves useful in assessing the nutritional status of an individual.
Why is the test ordered?
The test may be ordered to detect a deficiency of vitamin C in the body. It might be performed in individuals belonging to the elderly, infants fed with unfortified milk and alcoholic group, in order to assess whether the levels are adequate or if supplementation is required to prevent any health problems to the individual, owing to a lack of Vitamin C in the body.
When is the test ordered?
The test may be ordered if the presence of scurvy is suspected. The signs and symptoms of which include:
- Bleeding gums with gingival infections and inflammations
- Loss of teeth,
- Joint pain
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth and dry eyes
Individuals who belong to the high risk of developing vitamin C deficiency include:
- Elderly people
- Malnourished individuals
- People suffering from anorexia nervosa, diabetes, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, iron overload disorders, mental disorders and thyrotoxicosis
- Lactating mothers
- Pregnant women
- People receiving dialysis treatment
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.
How to prepare for the test?
Overnight fasting or 12 to 14 hours fasting may be required prior to the test.