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Vitamin C - Technical Considerations

As probably the best known and most talked about vitamin, it is one of the most widely utilised supplements and is available in a number of forms. Here, we take a closer look at vitamin C and its importance in our diet, and discuss what you need to know when making your choice of supplement. 

Most vertebrates synthesise vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, in the liver, from glucose; but humans, primates, fruit bats, guinea pigs and some other mammals cannot. Humans lost this capacity, as a result of a defective form of the gene for the enzyme, L-gulonolactone (GULO), which is required for the final step in the synthesis of ascorbate from glucose(1). Experts suggest that these mutations occurred approximately 40 million years ago. Therefore, for non-ascorbic-acid-synthesising mammals, including humans, vitamin C must be consumed through the daily diet(2). Indeed, the human diet contains both vitamin C (ascorbate) and its oxidised form, dehydroascorbic acid (DHA), which is....

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