Most people know that vitamin C is critical to human health; few likely know why it is needed. The body needs vitamin C to form collagen, the main protein in the connective tissues and blood vessels. Scurvy, which is now rare, is disease that is caused by a severe vitamin C deficiency. This extreme deficiency prevents the production of collagen. In its worst forms, blood vessels weaken to the point of breaking, causing internal bleeding. In the past decade some researchers have made the connection between serum vitamin C levels, collagen formation and atherosclerosis, commonly known as "hardening of the arteries".
A new study conducted at the University of South Florida has again tapped into the link between vitamin C and collagen formation, but this time researchers have tied it to joint health. More specifically, the researchers have found that vitamin C may help prevent osteoarthritis in the knees.