The intricate coordination and harmony in biological systems can be seen in the role of vitamin C in biochemical synthesis. Vitamin C acts as an electron donor for eight different enzymes in the synthesis of important biochemicals, with three of the enzymes participating in the synthesis of collagen, a major component of connective tissue. These reactions add hydroxyl groups to the amino acids proline or lysine in the collagen molecule, yielding hydroproline, an amino acid that gives the collagen molecule its triple-helical structure by forming intrastrand hydrogen bonds. For a protein to function correctly, it needs to exhibit a particular three-dimensional shape and to have the correct amino acids in the right arrangement. If vitamin C is missing, then the collagen synthesized in its absence does not function as well, being less stable and with a lower melting temperature. As a result, a person lacking vitamin C, and thus having insufficiently hydroxylated collagen, exhibits symptoms of scurvy.
Vitamin C shows the importance of balance in human life, in this case, in terms of one's diet. Vitamin C cannot be synthesized by humans and must be obtained through diet. One can consume animals and drink water to address one's hunger and quench one's thirst. But without a balanced diet, one will suffer from disease. Sailors, for example, would take many provisions for long voyages, but without a source of vitamin C, which is obtained from plants and particularly fruits, they would get scurvy.