Vitamin C

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid, or simply ascorbate (the anion of ascorbic acid), is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. Vitamin C describes several vitamers that have vitamin C activity in animals, including ascorbic acid and its salts, and some oxidized forms of the molecule like dehydroascorbic acid. Ascorbate and ascorbic acid are both naturally present in the body when either of these is introduced into cells, since the forms interconvert according to pH.

Vitamin C is a cofactor in at least eight enzymatic reactions, including several collagen synthesis reactions that, when dysfunctional, cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy. In animals, these reactions are especially important in wound-healing and in preventing bleeding from capillaries. Ascorbate may also act as an antioxidant against oxidative stress. The fact that the enantiomer D-ascorbate (not found in nature) has identical antioxidant activity to L-ascorbate, yet far less vitamin activity, underscores the fact that most of the function of L-ascorbate as a vitamin relies not on its antioxidant properties, but upon enzymic reactions that are stereospecific. "Ascorbate" without the letter for the enantiomeric form is always presumed to be the chemical L-ascorbate.

Ascorbate (the anion of ascorbic acid) is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions in all animals and plants. It is made internally by almost all organisms; the main exceptions are most bats, all guinea pigs, capybaras, and the Haplorrhini (one of the two major primate suborders, consisting of tarsiers, monkeys, and humans and other apes). Ascorbate is also not synthesized by some species of birds and fish. All species that do not synthesize ascorbate require it in the diet. Deficiency in this vitamin causes the disease scurvy in humans.

Ascorbic acid is also widely used as a food additive, to prevent oxidation.

Questions and answers on "Vitamin C"

I am in my 30s, and I recently noticed a small pimple-like bump on my upper-left gum. It has a tiny coldsore on it, it does not hurt but is quite worrying me. I take good care of my teeth by brushing and at least once a year prophylaxis but I am not taking VitC pills. Anything I should take to diminish the bump? If it bleeds and I accidentally swallow it, would it infect me?

doctor1 MD

Thanks for your query, I have gone through your query.
The cold sore can get aggravated secondary to the stress or tension. Nothing to worry, you can take topical anesthetic and analgesics like anabel gel. apply 3-4 times daily before food. If it comes again next time, as soon as you notice the...

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Recent questions on  Vitamin C

doctor1 MD

I am in my 30s, and I recently noticed a small pimple-like bump on my upper-left gum. It has a tiny coldsore on it, it does not hurt but is quite worrying me. I take good care of my teeth by brushing and at least once a year prophylaxis but I am not taking VitC pills. Anything I should take to diminish the bump? If it bleeds and I accidentally swallow it, would it infect me?

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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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