Ascorbic acid

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Fischer Projection of the Structure Ascorbic acid.png

Ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, is an water soluble essential nutrient in humans but not synthesised in the human body which therefore requires it to be obtained through dietary means. Its molecular formula is C6H8O6, with a molecular weight of 176.124 g/mol[1].

It acts as an antioxidant, reducing agent and coenzyme in many metabolic pathways. One example is collagen formation, where ascorbic acid is a cofactor of iron in the hydroxylation of the amino acids proline and lysine. Deficiency of ascorbic acid will lead to scuvy or its related symptoms[2][3].

Ascorbic acid exists in blood plasma, leukocytes and tissues, is absorbed in the intestines and is excreted through the renal pathway[4].


  1. Ascorbic acid | C6H8O6 - PubChem [Internet]. 2016 [cited 4 December 2016]. Available from:
  2. Otten JJ, Hellwig JP, Meyers LD, eds; Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006, p.203
  3. NAS, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine; Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., pg. 96, 2000. Available from, as of 3 December 2016:
  4. Gilman, A.G., T.W. Rall, A.S. Nies and P. Taylor (eds.). Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 8th ed. New York, NY. Pergamon Press, 1990., p. 1548

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