Master Vitamin C Mechanism And Deficiency with Picmonic for Medicine

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Vitamin C Mechanism And Deficiency

Viking Orange
Picmonic

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin which is mostly essential for collagen synthesis and its antioxidant properties.  The vitamin catalyzes several enzymes in the synthesis of collagen as well as catecholamine synthesis.  When the vitamin is deficient, the most notable effect is the onset of Scurvy, a disease characterized by poor wound healing and perifollicular hemorrhage.  Additionally, patients deficient in the vitamin can have anemia due to poor antioxidant ability as well as iron absorption problems.  

13 KEY FACTS
MECHANISM
Ascorbic acid
A-sword with Acidic-lemon

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. This is derived from the medieval Latin “scorbutus”, or scurvy, coupled with the English term “a-”, or without. This name was coined in the 1930's as further experimentation and discovery indicated that the vitamin C present in the limes, lemons, oranges and sauerkraut that exploring ship captains would give their crew during their long voyages was because, in some circumstances, the majority of the crew would expire from scurvy before arriving at their destination. Unknowingly, this “without scurvy” vitamin would then become the focus of the first controlled experiment in history, in which a British Navy surgeon named James Lind gave two oranges and a lemon to some ship crew members and not to others. The results clearly demonstrated the role of citrus fruits in preventing scurvy.

Antioxidant
Anteater-shield Eating Oxygen-molecules

Vitamin C has antioxidant properties due to its capacity as a reducing agent and functions to minimize the body of free radicals.

Protects Against Free Radicals
Protecting against Free Radicals

Ascorbic acid acts a reducing agent, contributing electrons in a variety of enzymatic and non-enzymatic biochemical reactions. It displays significant antioxidant properties that play a major role in protecting the body from free radicals.

Keeps Iron in Reduced State
Down-arrow Red Iron

Vitamin C, an exceptional reducing agent, assists in keeping iron in its reduced ferrous state (Fe2+) which improves intestinal absorption. Patients with iron deficiency, or those prone to iron deficiency, which is the most common anemia in the world, should take vitamin C concurrently with iron to assist gut absorption.

Hydroxylation of Proline and Lysine
Hydra-lace and addition of OH's to Pro-lion and L-icing

Hydroxylation of proline and lysine are essential steps in the complicated synthesis of collagen, which utilizes vitamin C as a cofactor.

Necessary for Dopamine B Hydroxylase
Doberman (B) Bee Hydra-lace

Vitamin C is a cofactor for dopamine B hydroxylase, which is an enzyme in the catecholamine synthesis pathway, specifically for norepinephrine and dopamine.

DEFICIENCY SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Scurvy
Scooby-scurvy

Scurvy results from deficient vitamin C intake and subsequent poor collagen synthesis. This disease consists of poor wound healing, bleeding and swollen gums, perifollicular hemorrhages, and easy bruising.

Swollen gums
Swollen Gums

One of the common symptoms of scurvy is gingival overgrowth, represented by swollen gums, which can be described as spongy, bulging, or protruding.

Bruising
Bruising

Bruising is another presentation of scurvy, and patients may complain of bruising very easily or the presence of petechiae. This is thought to result from inadequacy of connective tissue in the capillary wall as opposed to platelet or clotting factors.

Poor Wound Healing
Bandages

Vitamin C plays a major role in the formation and maintenance of connective tissue in the body, particularly collagen synthesis. As such, patients with ascorbic acid deficiency may present with poor wound healing.

Hemarthrosis
Hammer-King-Arthur

Hemarthrosis, or bleeding into joints, should be an important indicator in the mind of the clinician that a potential vitamin or dietary deficiency should be included in the differential diagnosis. Important to note that in severe cases this can lead to blatant hemorrhage and hemopericardium.

Perifollicular Hemorrhages
Pear-with-hair-follices and Hammer

Perifollicular hemorrhages refer to microbleeds around the hair follicles of patients with scurvy. Realize that not only is there bleeding, thought to be due to connective tissue failures in the blood vessel walls around hair follicles of these individuals, but the hair in question is also commonly described as corkscrew in appearance.

Anemia
Anemone

Vitamin C deficiency can result in anemia for a variety or combination of factors. This can occur due to poor iron intake and absorption, extensive oxidative damage to red blood cells, as well as hemorrhage from connective tissue inadequacies in blood vessel walls.

Unlock all 13 facts & definitions with Picmonic Free!

JOIN FREE

Take the Vitamin C Mechanism And Deficiency Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

START QUIZ NOW

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Ace Your Medical (MD/DO) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 900,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Medical (MD/DO) student study app.

Picmonic for Medicine (MD/DO) covers information that is relevant to your entire Medical (MD/DO) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, COMLEX Level 1, or COMLEX Level 2, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Medical (MD/DO) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.