Chemistry and Metabolism of Vitamin C

  • Bert M. Tolbert
Part of the Nutrition and Food Science book series (NFS, volume 3)


The nutritional requirement for ascorbic acid is based on a physiological function for this vitamin, which in turn is based on biochemical roles that operate at an enzymic level. This dogma is easy to state, but an abundance of experimental data indicate that our understanding of the physiological and biochemical roles of ascorbic acid are far from complete. Four enigmas in the physiology of ascorbic acid will serve to illustrate my argument: radioautographic studies as well as tissue assay show high levels of ascorbic acid in adrenals, brain, gonads, eye and salivary glands. In these tissues at least 90% of the ascorbic acid is present as free ascorbic acid. Experiments demonstrating a physiological function for these high levels of ascorbic acid are not available except perhaps for the adrenals.


Ascorbic Acid Dehydroascorbic Acid Ascorbic Acid Level Biochemical Role Major Urinary Metabolite 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bert M. Tolbert
    • 1
  1. 1.Dpt. of ChemistryUniv. of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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