Ascorbic Acid formula : Properties and Side effects

Ascorbic Acid formula for vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is C6H8O6. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient for animals and plants.

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Ascorbic Acid chemical formula for vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is C6H8O6. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient for animals and plants. Ascorbic acid denoted by C6H8O6, is a natural water-soluble vitamin with potent reducing and antioxidant properties.

It is a vitamin C that humans cannot produce and, therefore must be obtained through diet. Also known as Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, raw bell peppers, kiwifruits and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin C is also found in leafy vegetables, potatoes, and tomatoes. It is used for treating and preventing the common cold. It is also applied to the skin to protect it against pollution and the sun.

It helps to fight off bacterial infections, detoxify reactions and aid in the formation of collagen in fibrous tissues, connective tissues, bones, capillaries and skin. This essential nutrient is mainly found in citrus fruits and vegetables but cannot be produced or stored by humans so needs to be consumed in the diet.

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Ascorbic Acid Formula

It is found in several food items but is also taken as a supplement. It is also referred to as vitamin C or ascorbate. It is used in the prevention and treatment of scurvy. It is a vital nutrient involved in repairing tissues and the enzymatic production of neurotransmitters. In addition to its role as an antioxidant, it is essential for functioning several enzymes in the body.

Ascorbic Acid Structure

It is a six-carbon compound with a cyclic structure and various functional groups, including hydroxyl (OH) and carbonyl groups. The structural formula of ascorbic acid shows a six-membered carbon ring with alternating double bonds and hydroxyl groups attached to some of the carbon atoms within the ring.

Ascorbic acid Structure

Properties of Ascorbic Acid – C6H8O6

C6H8O6 Ascorbic Acid
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 176.12 g/mol
Density 1.694 g/cm3
Boiling Point 553 °C
Melting Point 190 °C

Chemical properties

Ascorbic acid is a vinylogous carboxylic acid that forms the ascorbate anion when one of the hydroxyls is deprotonated. This property is characteristic of reductones, which are enediols with a carbonyl group attached to the enediol group and thus having the form–C(OH)=C(OH)–C(=O)–. Ascorbate anion stability comes from electron delocalization due to resonance between two forms, making it much more acidic than isolated hydroxyl groups. Furthermore, salts of ascorbate form, including sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate, while it can also react with organic acids such as alcohols to form esters like ascorbyl palmitate and ascorbyl stearate.


The ascorbate ion is a predominant species at typical biological pH values. It is also a mild reducing agent and a mild antioxidant. A radical cation is formed when one electron is lost and a second electron is lost to form dehydroascorbic acid when the second electron is lost. Typically, it reacts with reactive oxygen species like hydroxyl radicals.

The resonance-stabilized nature of its own radical ion, semidehydroascorbate, makes it unique because it can transfer one electron. When exposed to oxygen, it undergoes further oxidative decomposition, resulting in a variety of acids, including diketogulonic acid, xylonic acid, oxalic acid, and threonic acid.

As a result of their interaction with nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins, reactive oxygen species can damage animals and plants on a molecular level. Further, these radicals can initiate chain reactions that ascorbate can terminate by electron transfer. In addition, its oxidized form is relatively unreactive and does not cause cell damage.

Uses of Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid and its salt are used mainly as a food additive that protects from oxidation; with an E number of E300, this is officially approved in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, it is offered as a dietary supplement and employed as a restrictor in photographic developer solutions and as a preservative. For other fluorescence techniques such as fluorescent microscopy, they make use of its anti-oxidant properties to amplify the fluorescent signal and reduce dye photobleaching.

We commonly use it to clean fiberglass swimming pools of metal stains, such as iron. Because it produces less waste than traditional synthesis methods, it makes molecular chains more quickly assembled in plastic manufacturing. In order to inject heroin into the bloodstream, heroin users use ascorbic acid to convert heroin base to water-soluble salts.

The effects of iodine tablets used for water purification can be counteracted with ascorbate. It can be beneficial in removing the taste, smell, and color from sterilized water, which is why many sporting goods stores sell it along with potassium iodide tablets as a portable aqua-neutralizing tablet. Ascorbate is also being researched by scientists as a potential chemotherapeutic and biological response modification agent; however, clinical trials are still ongoing.

Side Effects of Ascorbic Acid

As a water-soluble vitamin, excess ascorbic acid in the body is rapidly eliminated through urine. For individuals who take more than 2 to 3 grams of this vitamin on an empty stomach, indigestion may be experienced. Fortunately, taking sodium or calcium ascorbate forms of ascorbic acid may minimize this effect. Other symptoms such as nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps reported for large doses are thought to be caused by the osmotic action of unabsorbed vitamin C passing through the intestine. Additionally, higher amounts may lead to excessive iron absorption in the body.

Ascorbic Acid Formula FAQs

What is ascorbic acid?

Ascorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C, is a water-soluble vitamin essential for various biological processes, including collagen synthesis and antioxidant protection.

What are the dietary sources of ascorbic acid?

Ascorbic acid can be found in citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), strawberries, bell peppers, and many other fruits and vegetables.

What is the role of ascorbic acid in the body?

Ascorbic acid is crucial for collagen formation, wound healing, and boosting the immune system. It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.

Can a deficiency in ascorbic acid lead to health issues?

A deficiency in ascorbic acid can cause scurvy, a condition characterized by weakness, fatigue, gum disease, and skin problems.

Is there a recommended daily intake of ascorbic acid?

Yes, the recommended daily intake of ascorbic acid varies by age and sex but generally ranges from 65 to 90 milligrams for adults. It can be obtained through a balanced diet or supplements when necessary.

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