What Is It?: Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) is a water-soluble vitamin. It occurs as a white or slightly yellow crystal or powder with a slight acidic taste. On exposure to light, it gradually darkens. In the dry state, it is reasonably stable in air, but in solution it rapidly oxidizes. In humans, an exogenous source of ascorbic acid is required for collagen formation and tissue repair because humans cannot produce this vitamin in their bodies. Ascorbic acid is reversibly oxidized to dehydroascorbic acid in the body. These two forms of the vitamin are believed to be important in oxidation-reduction reactions. The vitamin is involved in tyrosine metabolism, conversion of folic acid to folinic acid, carbohydrate metabolism, synthesis of lipids and proteins, iron metabolism, resistance to infections, and cellular respiration.
Ascorbic acid deficiency results in scurvy. Collagenous structures are primarily affected, and lesions develop in bones and blood vessels. Administration of ascorbic acid completely reverses the symptoms of ascorbic acid deficiency.
How to Use: Ascorbic acid is recommended for the prevention and treatment of scurvy. Its parenteral administration is desirable for patients with an acute deficiency or for those whose absorption of orally ingested ascorbic acid is uncertain.
Symptoms of mild deficiency may include faulty bone and tooth development, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and loosened teeth. Febrile states, chronic illness, and infection (pneumonia, whooping cough, tuberculosis, diphtheria, sinusitis, rheumatic fever, etc.) increase the need for ascorbic acid.
Possible Side Effects: Transient mild soreness may occur at the site of intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. Too-rapid intravenous administration of the solution may cause temporary faintness or dizziness.
Storage: Keep in the original container – in a cool dark place. Keep out of the reach of children and pets. Store all medicines away from excess heat and moisture. Do NOT store in the bathroom.