Apr 6, 2014
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Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C (see APPENDIX 5: VITAMINS), is a simple sugar found in living tissues – its highest concentrations being in the adrenal cortex (see ADRENAL GLANDS) and the eye. Stress and CORTICOTROPIN lead to a loss of ascorbic acid from the adrenal cortex. Fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly blackcurrants, citrus fruits, berries and green vegetables, are the richest dietary sources; it may also be synthetically prepared. Ascorbic acid is easily eliminated from the diet by traditional methods of cooking, being very soluble in water and easily destroyed by heat, alkalis, traces of copper or by an oxidase released by damage to plant tissues. Deficiency may lead to SCURVY, traditionally associated with sailors, among elderly people living alone or in poor communities living at subsistence level. It has been claimed that large doses (1–2 g daily) will prevent the common cold, but few large controlled trials have been carried out and it is inadvisable for people to dose themselves with large quantities of ascorbic acid, which may result in the formation of oxalate stones in the urinary tract. (See also VITAMIN.)

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