Topic of the Month
Established and potential functions of vitamin C
1 December 2012
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential micronutrient required for normal metabolic func-tioning of the body. The vitamin acts as a cofactor for several enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of colla-gen, carnitine, and neurotransmitters. In addition to enzyme activation, oxidative stress reduction and immune function are thought to be the key functions of vitamin C, suggesting a potential preventive efficacy in cardiovascular disease, cancer, age-related cognitive decline and common cold. There is increasing evidence that the vitamin does not only act as a simple antioxidant but is able to affect reduction/oxidation-sensitive signaling pathways, modulate gene expression and regulate cell differentiation.