What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C also known as Ascorbic Acid and several other names, is an essential nutrient for higher primates, and a small number of other species.
Why do we need vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble, antioxidant vitamin. It is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, and helps maintain capillaries, bones, and teeth.
Discovery of Ascorbic Acid
In 1912, the Polish-American biochemist Casimir Funk, while researching deficiency diseases, developed the concept of vitamins to refer to the nutrients which are essential to health. Then, from 1928 to 1933, the Hungarian research team of Joseph L Svirbely and Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and, independently, the American Charles Glen King, first isolated vitamin C and showed it to be ascorbic acid. For this, Szent-Gyorgyi was awarded the 1937 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
In 1928 the Arctic anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson attempted to prove his theory of how the Eskimos are able to avoid scurvy with almost no plant food in their diet, despite the disease striking European Arctic explorers living on similar high-meat diets. Stefansson theorised that the natives get their vitamin C from fresh meat that is minimally cooked. Starting in February 1928, for one year he and a colleague lived on an exclusively minimally-cooked meat diet while under medical supervision; they remained healthy.
Between 1933 and 1934, the British chemists Sir Walter Norman Haworth and Sir Edmund Hirst and, independently, the Polish chemist Tadeus Reichstein, succeeded in synthesizing the vitamin, the first to be artificially produced. This made possible the cheap mass-production of vitamin C. Only Haworth was awarded the 1937 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work, but the process for vitamin C retained Reichstein's name.
In 1934 Hoffmann-La Roche became the first pharmaceutical company to mass-produce synthetic vitamin C, under the brand name of Redoxon.
In 1957 the American J.J. Burns showed that the reason some mammals were susceptible to scurvy was the inability of their liver to produce the active enzyme L-gulonolactone oxidase, which is the last of the chain of four enzymes which synthesize vitamin C. American biochemist Irwin Stone was the first to exploit vitamin C for its food preservative properties. He later developed the theory that humans possess a mutated form of the L-gulonolactone oxidase coding gene.
Source(s) Derived From
Animal Sources, Plant Sources, Other Natural Sources, Chemical (Synthetic) Sources
Vitamin C can be sourced from meat, fruits, vegetables, and some other sources such as mushrooms. There are also artificial/synthetic versions of vitamin C.
Natural or Artificial?
|Both (Can be derived from Natural & Artificial Sources)|
Aliases (Also Known As)
L Ascorbic Acid
L Ascorbic Acid Phosphate
Natural Vitamin C
Vitamin C Supplement
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|Ingredient updated||UPC Food Search||January 3, 2018 @ 11:11 PM|
|Ingredient added||UPC Food Search||January 1, 2009 @ 2:14 AM|