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Vitamin C

Vitamin C
L-Ascorbic acid.svg
Clinical data
AHFS/ Monograph
MedlinePlus a682583
  • A (to RDA), C (above RDA)
Routes of
by mouth, IM, IV, subQ
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
  • AU: Unscheduled
  • US: OTC
  • general public availability
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability rapid & complete
Protein binding negligible
Biological half-life varies according to plasma concentration
Excretion kidney
Synonyms L-ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid, ascorbate
CAS Number
PubChem CID
E number E300 (antioxidants, ...)
ECHA InfoCard 100.000.061
Chemical and physical data
Formula C6H8O6
Molar mass 176.12 g/mol
3D model (Jmol)
Density 1.694 g/cm3
Melting point 190 °C (374 °F)
Boiling point 553 °C (1,027 °F)

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, is a vitamin found in food and used as a dietary supplement. As a supplement it is used to treat and prevent scurvy. Evidence does not support use in the general population for the prevention of the common cold. It may be taken by mouth or by injection.

It is generally well tolerated. Large doses may cause gastrointestinal upset, headache, trouble sleeping, and flushing of the skin. Normal doses are safe during pregnancy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue. Foods that contain vitamin C include citrus fruit, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Vitamin C was discovered in 1912, isolated in 1928, and first made in 1933. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Vitamin C is available as a generic medication and over the counter. The wholesale cost in the developing world is about 0.19 to 0.54 USD per month. In some countries ascorbic acid may be added to foods such as breakfast cereal.

A 2012 Cochrane review found no effect of vitamin C supplementation on overall mortality.

Although rare in modern times, scurvy and its associated destabilization of collagen, connective tissue, and bone can be prevented by adequate vitamin C intake.

A 2014 review found that, "Currently, the use of high-dose IV vitamin C [as an anticancer agent] cannot be recommended outside of a clinical trial."

United States vitamin C recommendations
Recommended Dietary Allowance (adult male) 90 mg per day
Recommended Dietary Allowance (adult female) 75 mg per day
Recommended Dietary Allowance (pregnancy) 85 mg per day
Recommended Dietary Allowance (lactation) 120 mg per day
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (adult male) 2,000 mg per day
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (adult female) 2,000 mg per day
Plant source Amount
(mg / 100g)
Kakadu plum 1000–5300
Camu Camu 2800
Acerola 1677
Seabuckthorn 695
Indian gooseberry 445
Rose hip 426
Baobab 400
Chili pepper (green) 244
Guava (common, raw) 228.3
Blackcurrant 200
Red pepper 190
Chili pepper (red) 144
Parsley 130
Kiwifruit 90
Broccoli 90
Loganberry 80
Redcurrant 80
Brussels sprouts 80
Wolfberry (Goji) 73 †
Lychee 70
Persimmon (native, raw) 66.0
Cloudberry 60
Elderberry 60
Plant source Amount
(mg / 100g)
Papaya 60
Strawberry 60
Orange 53
Lemon 53
Pineapple 48
Cauliflower 48
Kale 41
Melon, cantaloupe 40
Garlic 31
Grapefruit 30
Raspberry 30
Tangerine 30
Mandarin orange 30
Passion fruit 30
Spinach 30
Cabbage raw green 30
Lime 30
Mango 28
Rutabaga 25
Blackberry 21
Potato 20
Melon, honeydew 20
Tomato, red 13.7
Cranberry 13
Tomato 10
Blueberry 10
Pawpaw 10
Plant source Amount
(mg / 100g)
Grape 10
Apricot 10
Plum 10
Watermelon 10
Banana 9
Avocado 8.8
Crabapple 8
Onion 7.4
Cherry 7
Peach 7
Carrot 6
Apple 6
Asparagus 6
Horned melon 5.3
Beetroot 5
Chokecherry 5
Pear 4
Lettuce 4
Cucumber 3
Eggplant 2
Raisin 2
Fig 2
Bilberry 1
Medlar 0.3
Animal Source Amount
(mg / 100g)
Calf liver (raw) 36
Beef liver (raw) 31
Oysters (raw) 30
Cod roe (fried) 26
Pork liver (raw) 23
Lamb brain (boiled) 17
Chicken liver (fried) 13
Animal Source Amount
(mg / 100g)
Lamb liver (fried) 12
Calf adrenals (raw) 11
Lamb heart (roast) 11
Lamb tongue (stewed) 6
Camel milk (fresh) 5
Human milk (fresh) 4
Goat milk (fresh) 2
Cow milk (fresh) 2

  • A (to RDA), C (above RDA)
  • AU: Unscheduled
  • US: OTC
  • general public availability


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