Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid

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Occurrence and structure

Citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and potatoes have a high vitamin C content. However, only if they have not been heated too much, as ascorbic acid is sensitive to heat. Almost all animals can produce vitamin C themselves, but humans – among other primates – cannot.

Characteristic for its structure is a lactone ring with two hydroxyl (OH) groups. Other foods that contain a lot of vitamin C are Aceroal cherry, rose hip, black currant, parsley and kaleVitamin C is an important antioxidant. This means that it protects cellular components from being destroyed by aggressive oxygen radicals that are produced during some metabolic processes.

In this process it is itself oxidized. It is also involved in many other synthesis pathways, including the following:

  • Collagen Synthesis
  • Serotonin Synthesis
  • Synthesis of lipophilic hormones (steroid hormones)
  • Synthesis of tetrahydrofolate (activated form of folic acid, see above)

It manifests itself as scurvy, a disease also known as “seafarer’s disease”, since in the past, sailors often suffered from it due to insufficient nutrition with citrus fruits or fresh vegetables on long sea voyages. In particular, the collagen synthesis is limited here, resulting in a weakness of the connective tissue.

This leads to symptoms such as tooth loss, joint pain and small skin bleedings. If vitamin C deficiency persists, scurvy can lead to death. Water-soluble (hydrophilic) vitamins: Fat-soluble (hydrophobic) vitamins:

  • Vitamin B1 – thiamine
  • Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3 – Niacin
  • Vitamin B5 – pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin B6 – PyridoxalPyridoxinPyridoxamine
  • Vitamin B7 – biotin
  • Vitamin B9 – folic acid
  • Vitamin B12 – cobalamin
  • Vitamin A – Retinol
  • Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin D – Calcitriol
  • Vitamin E – tocopherol
  • Vitamin K – PhylloquinoneMenachinone