ascorbic acid

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Vitamin C is a water soluble compound. It promotes many metabolic reactions, particularly the laying down of collagen during the formation of connective tissue. It does this by facilitating the activity of enzymes which hydroxylate lysine, proline and procollagen. Hence, it promotes wound healing.

It also has vital roles in maintaining folate as tetrahydrofolate and in the absorption of iron.

Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, green vegetables, kidney, liver and milk. Cooking of the source reduces the vitamin C content by virtue of oxidation and absorption into water. Absorption takes place within the ileum by secondary active transport along with sodium ions.

Vitamin C deficiency produces classical scurvy. It is very rare in developed countries.

Vitamin C status is determined from an assay on white blood cells.

Last reviewed 01/2018