Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement.
It is used to prevent and treat scurvy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters.
It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune system function. It also functions as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms.
Antioxidants such as thiols or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) terminate these chain reactions.
To balance the oxidative state, plants and animals maintain complex systems of overlapping antioxidants, such as glutathione and enzymes (e.g., catalase and superoxide dismutase), produced internally, or the dietary antioxidants vitamin C, and vitamin E.