What Vitamin C is
Vitamins (amines of life) were discovered in the early 1900s in Poland. Currently, 13 are known. They are divided into water-soluble and fat-soluble. In this section, we will discuss one of the most famous and used vitamin, Vitamin C, and glutathione.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is part of the water-soluble vitamins with all B vitamins. Some animals, unlike humans, can produce vitamin C on their own.
It is a nutrient defined as “essential”, so much so that there is also a disease, scurvy, caused precisely by a lack of vitamin C.
In nature, vitamin C is found mainly in plant foods such as citrus fruits, in sour fruits such as kiwis and apples, in peppers, parsley, tomatoes, etc. It is also found, in small quantities, in animal offal.
The functions of Vitamin C
The main functions of vitamin C are: facilitating the absorption of iron, promoting the production of collagen, carrying out an antioxidant and immunomodulating action, and protecting the skin from UV radiation.
It is also able to promote proper wound healing and eliminate toxic and oxidizing substances.
Vitamin C in cosmeceuticals
It is widely used in dermatology and aesthetic medicine, as it can combat chrono-aging and photo-aging; in addition, lightening effects can also be performed and favor the recovery of skin tone and elasticity. Vitamin C is therefore one of the main active ingredients used in cosmeceuticals.
To facilitate a correct formulation of cosmeceuticals containing vitamin C it is essential to take into account your tendency to oxidize very easily. The alteration of cosmetics can be easily noticed by observing the color: a yellow color indicates a non-oxidized form while a change to brown indicates a degradation of the vitamin C contained within the product. To avoid this degradation it is necessary to use more stable forms such as magnesium phosphate ascorbate, or the more recent 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid, reduce the pH, and replace the water with other solvents.
What Glutathione is
Glutathione is a tripeptide consisting of three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine , and glycine. It is a substance capable of carrying out antioxidant activity and neutralizing free radicals. It is found in large quantities in the liver, where it has a protective action on external substances that are potentially toxic to the liver: in fact, a glutathione deficiency exposes the liver cells to potential toxic damage.
It is found naturally in raw meat, milk, many vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and onion, eggs, legumes, dried fruit.
The functions of Glutathione
Glutathione is used as a supplement in patients suffering from diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and HIV-infected disease. In the commercial world, it is used to delay aging, strengthen the immune system, protect the body from external oxidants such as ionizing radiation, alcohol, smoke. Glutathione is also used to reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and in association with traditional therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and psoriasis.
Glutathione in cosmeceuticals
Recent studies have shown good skin function when taken in a particular pharmaceutical form, the buccal solution. It is usually associated with other molecules with antioxidant activity such as vitamins of group B, vitamin A, vitamin C, or vitamin E. There are no known adverse effects of glutathione, except in the case of an excessive intake of this substance and allergic reactions. However, it has been shown that glutathione has pharmacokinetics that is affected by the presence of some intestinal enzymes that degrade it, altering its bioavailability. It is therefore considered more useful to supplement it with its precursor, N-Acetyl-Cysteine. The dosage of glutathione used in the supplement varies from 50 to 600 mg per day.
Both of these substances have gone through favorable commercial moments, being“in fashion” and less favorable commercial moments. However, there is no doubt that, with the right guidelines, these are two extremely useful substances whose use, with due care, is recommended.
Dr. Edoardo Zattra