According to Wolbach, this vitamin is necessary for formation of all intercellular substances.
It is also essential for the immunity or body defence mechanism. It is an activator for the immunity or body defence mechanism.
It is an activator for the growth of the tissues. It plays important role in blood formation and maintenance of physiological level of erythrocytes, the so called red blood corpuscles.
It also activates certain intracellular enzymes such as proteolytic enzymes, cathepsin arginase and amylase. It takes part in the metabolism of tyrosine.
Vitamin C is a colourless, odourless, crystalline material. Its melting point varies from 190 to 192°C.
It is very much soluble in water and quite insoluble in the fat solvents such as ether, alcohols sterols, etc.
Its pH value ranges from 2-3, depending upon the concentrations. It is sensitive to light and air.
It is reasonably stable in mild acid solutions while in alkaline solutions there is a considerable loss of activity. It is destroyed by excessive boiling or prolonged cooking. Drying, storing and aging of food may also destroy the vitamin C activity.
Vitamin C is closely related to the hexoses in structure and is, in fact, conveniently synthesized from glucose.
It is not a typical organic acid in that it has no free carboxyl group (—COOH); actually, a lactone structure is present (a lactone is an inner ester of an alcohol and an acid group in the same molecule.
Occurrence and availability Vitamin C:
Vitamin C occurs abundantly in certain fresh fruits such as, citrus fruits, lemons, limes, and grape fruits are excellent sources.
Other fruits like raspberries, currants, gooseberries and strawberries also contain vitamin C. It is also found in plenty in vegetables such as tomatoes, kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage.
Daily requirement: The exact daily requirement is uncertain, but for men and women (during pregnancy and lactation) the recommended dietary requirement is 60 mg.
Infants should have 35 mg per day, and, as the child gets older, a gradually increasing amount is required until a maximum need is reached at adolescence, 50 to 60 mg daily for boys and 50 to 55 mg for girls.