Vitamin C is essential for healthy teeth, gums and bones. It helps heal wounds, scar tissue, and fractures. It prevents scurvy, builds resistance to infection, aids in the prevention and treatment of the common cold, gives strength to blood vessels and helps the absorption of iron. It is required for the synthesis of collagen, which holds tissues together, and is also one of the major antioxidant nutrients. It prevents the conversion of nitrates (from tobacco smoke, smog, bacon, lunch meats, and some vegetables) into cancer-causing substances. Deficiency leads to scurvy, characterized by fragile capillaries, poor wound healing, and bone deformity in children.