GOPI.M M V N 11 0 0 3 ( A N N ) M . V. S c . , S c h o l a r Dept. Of Animal Nutrition

 It is chemically known as “ L-Ascorbic acid ”.

 Formula: C6H8O6.
 Colourless, crystalline, water soluble , having acidic &

strong reducing property.
 Heat stable in acid environment, readily destroyed in alkali.
 Destroyed by light.

Forms of Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)

 All species can synthesis Vit. C except primates including guinea pigs, insects, fish, humans are unable to synthesize Vit. C but birds Can Synthesize.  It is synthesized from glucose in the liver and kidney.

 Those that cannot synthesize Vit. C lack L-gulonolactone oxidase, the last enzyme needed for the conversion of glucose to Vit. C .

 Sources:
 Vit. C is synthesized by plants.  Animal foods do not provide Vit. C .

 The only exception is liver, where Vit. C is stored in small amounts.
 Citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, are significant sources of Vit. C .

Natural Sources cauliflower Pepper raw corn rice lemon guavas Oranges Fish Milk

Vitamin C mg/100g as fed basis 50-90 100 12 0 80 300 40-60 5-30 1-7

Absorption, Transport, and Storage:
 Absorption primarily occurs by an “active transport” system, but simple diffusion also occurs.

 Most absorption in the distal SI, the average absorption is approx. 90%.  Vit. C is transported in the plasma as free anion, and equilibrates with the body pool (stores) of the vitamin.

 Distribution:  The highest conc. in adrenal gland (30 - 40 mg/100g wet tissue).  Other tissues high in Vit. C are pituitary gland & retina.  An intermediate level of the vitamin is found in the liver, lungs, pancreas and leukocytes.  Smaller amounts in kidneys, muscles and RBCs.  The tissue concentration of Vit. C usually exceeds the plasma level by 3 to 10 times.

 URINE major route of metabolite excretion


 Vit. C is req. for synthesis of collagen, an important

structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone.
 Vit. C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the

NT - Norepinephrine (NE).
 Vit. C is required for the synthesis of Carnitine, that is

essential for the transport of fat in mitochondria, for conversion to energy.

 Research suggests that vit. C is involved in

metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, which may have implications for blood cholesterol levels and the incidence of gallstones.
Vit. C is also a highly effective antioxidant.
Vit. C may also be able to regenerate other

antioxidants such as vitamin E .

Vitamin E & Vitamin C
Tocopheroxyl Radical
CH2OH HO O O H O O -e- , -H +





L-Ascorbate Anion

Semi-dehydroascorbic Acid Radical

 Acts as a reducing agent (antioxidant). Fe3++ Ascorbate (AH-) -------->Fe2++ Dehydroascorbate radical(A-)

 Free-radicals and ROS (HO2, H2O2, OH etc) formed during normal metabolism attack phospholipids and proteins in the cell membrane.  Peroxyl radicals induce oxidation of LDL (risk of CVD) and oxidation of RBC (hemolysis)

Vitamin C Biochemical Functions
• Glutathione Relationship: Dehydroascorbate H2O2






 Vit. C is needed in a number of “hydroxylation” reactions particularly needed for various amino acids.  For collagen molecules to aggregate into a triple helix, selected “proline” residues on collagen α chains must be hydroxylated.  The role of Vit. C in the hydroxylation of proline and lysine is of primary importance because it explains the protective role of Vit. C for scurvy.

3. TYROSINE SYNTHESIS:  “Tyrosine” is made from “phenylalanine” hydroxylation via phenylalanine monooxygenase enzyme.  Vit. C is needed for this reaction. This reaction also needs folic acid.  Vit. C is needed for Cu2+dependent “p- OH phenyl pyruvate hydroxylase”


5. Serotonin Synthesis:
 Vit. C, folacin and O2 are involved in hydroxylation of tryptophan for synthesis of neurotransmitter “serotonin” (5-OH Tryptamine) in the brain. 6.Cholesterol Degradation For Bile Synthesis:

 Hydroxylation of cholesterol’s steroid nucleus by cholesterol 7 α-hydroxylase diminishes in vit. C deficiency.

 Has a role in metal ion metabolism – by reducing and chelating actions , by enhanced absorption .  Have a stimulating effect on phagocytic activity of leukocytes and on antibody formation.

 Cardiovascular Disease and Vit. C .
 Many human studies report a relationship between low Vit.C status and increased plasma cholesterol levels.  High plasma vitamin C also have been associated lower blood pressure and with higher HDL concentrations.  Cancer prevention ?


Vitamin C deficiency
 Severe deficiency leads to Scurvy with the following manifestations: Bleeding & bruising easily Hair & teeth loss Joint pain & swelling Fatigue & lack of concentration

 1700's the British navy was aware that scurvy could be

cured by eating oranges or lemons, even though vitamin C would not be isolated until the early 1930's.
 Symptoms:

 bleeding and bruising easily,
 hair and tooth loss,  joint pain and swelling.

 Such symptoms appear to be related to the weakening of

blood vessels, connective tissue, and bone, which contain collagen.

Early symptoms of scurvy:
 Fatigue may result from diminished levels of Carnitine,

needed to derive energy from fat,
 or decreased synthesis of the NT – Norepinephrine (NE) .

 Scurvy in oral cavity mucosa, muzzle, general

 In calves extensive dermatosis, hair loss,

thickening of skin.
 Oral supplementation destroyed by rumen


New chick slow rate of synthesis. Heat stressed birds supplementation is useful

improves egg production, egg shell strength, interior egg quality.
Supplementation of 100ppm in layers improves

the condition in summers.

 Goats, like almost all animals, make their own Vit. C.
 An adult goat will manufacture more than 13,000 mg of Vit. C / day in normal health and levels many fold higher when faced with stress.

It has been reported that the concentration of Vit. C

in plasma is decreased by heat stress in pigs & poultry.
Additionally, supplemental Vit. C has been

reported to improve feed intake and growth rates in heat-stressed birds.

 All poultry are capable of synthesizing Vit. C in the kidney tissue.  However, the synthesis and use of Vit. C are not constant. changes

with age, management, environment, disease, nutrition and stress.
 In the adrenal gland, Vit. C functions metabolically to help control

the production of the adrenal hormone, corticosterone.
 A controlled rate of corticosterone release from the adrenal cortex is

preferred in coping with stress.
 For adrenal cortical depletion of this hormone to occur would result

in death of the animal.
 Vit. C plays a central role in the continued synthesis of


 The proposed mechanism for this effect is through inhibition of the

21-hydroxylase and 11 beta-hydroxylase enzymes in the steroid biosynthetic pathway in the adrenal cortex.

 Vitamin C supplementation to the diet and water during periods of

stress causes reduced synthesis of corticosterone .

 For best results, the use of vitamin C in the diet or water should

begin at least 24 or 48 hours before the onset of stress and should continue throughout the stressful period.

 The frequency of recorded toxicity is quite low, though many potentially harmful effects have been reported due to excessive intakes of vit. C.  Though massive doses of vit. C lead to excessive oxalate excretion in urine, thereby increasing the possibility of Ca oxalate kidney stones.  4 g of Vit. C/day will increase the amount of uric acid excreted in urine.  The resulting urine acidification with the excessive amount of urate being excreted could cause precipitation of urate crystals.

 Excessive doses of vit. C can cause diarrhea, but not for a long time.
 Excretion of excessive vit. C in urine and feces can interfere with a variety of clinical tests, false negative for fecal occult blood, test for glucose in the urine can be invalid.


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