What Is Asorbic Acid?

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Most people think of oranges and orange juice when they think of vitamin C.

Ascorbic acid is often known as vitamin C, although they are not structurally identical. Ascorbic acid is artificial and created in a laboratory. It is a reduced form of natural vitamin C. Because vitamin C is broken down and destroyed when heated, it is lost in the process of making orange juice and other products. Ascorbic acid is a synthetic replacement created as a form of naturally occurring vitamin C.

  1. Ascorbic Acid vs. Vitamin C

    • Aside from its nutritional value, ascorbic acid has other benefits. Ascorbic acid has anti-oxidant properties useful in many products. It helps flavors and colors from being ruined by oxidation in foods and beverages. However, the natural form of vitamin C complex found in foods has additional nutritional value, including vitamins K, J and P. Because the Food and Drug Administration has allowed ascorbic acid to be known as vitamin C, you will often see it labeled as vitamin C on products.

    Foods

    • Many fruits and vegetables naturally contain ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. Fruits high in this essential nutrient are citrus fruits, bananas, melons, most berries and pineapple. Vegetables include asparagus, broccoli and green and red bell peppers. Orange vegetables are also known to have a high amount of ascorbic acid -- pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots. Watercress and garlic are high in vitamin C, and fish and milk contain it as well, but in smaller amounts.

    Health Benefits

    • According to the Medterms website, "Ascorbic acid helps produce collagen, a protein needed to develop and maintain healthy teeth, bones, gums, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels." It also helps with healing wounds and cuts, helps with fighting off infections, helps regulate cholesterol levels, aids iron absorption and prevents the development of scurvy. Vitamin C helps the immune system fight off infection and common illnesses.

    Taking as a Supplement

    • Ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin, which means it cannot be absorbed and stored by the body; it must be replenished on a daily basis. As a synthetic form of vitamin C, it makes a convenient supplement, in either vitamin form or lozenge. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center website, women should take 75mg and men should take 90mg of ascorbic acid every day. Women who breastfeed and people who smoke should take about 35mg more per day.

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