Advertisement

Introduction

Three Eras of Vitamin C Discovery
  • Robert A. Jacob
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 25)

Abstract

The knowledge of vitamin C can be classified into three periods. The scurvy era, from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, includes the recognition of the scurvy syndrome and the search to find the cause and cure. The second period, from about 1900 to 1980, includes the chemical isolation and characterization of the antiscorbutic factor, i.e., ascorbic acid; the demonstrations of the nutritional essentiality of the substance; and the metabolic studies that established the vitamin’s human metabolism and requirement to prevent scurvy. The last period, from about 1970 to the present, is defined by new knowledge of extrascorbutic roles of the vitamin, such as for antioxidant protection and immunocompetence. These new roles, possibly fulfilled by much higher intakes of the vitamin than that needed to prevent scurvy, were popularized in 1970 by Linus Pauling’s book Vitamin C and the Common Cold. The latter “extrascorbutic” stage opens a broad new range of interests regarding vitamin C and human health, as compared to the limited scope of the vitaminx’s antiscorbutic role.

Keywords

Ascorbic Acid Antioxidant Protection Aldose Reductase Inhibitor Ascorbate Level Body Pool 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, R., and Lukey, P. T., 1987, A biological role for ascorbate in the selective neutralization of extracellular phagocyte-derived oxidants, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 498:229–247.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anonymous, 1989, Expanding knowledge of ascorbic acid metabolism, Nutr. Rev. 47:360–361.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, E. M., Hodges, R. E., Hood, J., Säuberlich, H. E., March, S. C, and Canham, J. E., 1971, Metabolism of 14C- and 3H-labelled L-ascorbic acid in human scurvy, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 24:444–454.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartley, W. H., Krebs, A., and O’Brien, J. R. P., 1953, Vitamin C requirement of human adults, in Med. Res. Council Spec. Rep. Ser. No. 280, pp. 1–79, H.M. Stationary Office, London.Google Scholar
  5. Bendich, A., and Cohen, M., 1990, Ascorbic acid safety: Analysis of factors affecting iron absorption, Toxicol Letters 51:189–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bendich, A., Machlin, L. J., Scandurra, O., Burton, G. W., and Wayner, D. M., 1986, The antioxidant role of vitamin C, Adv. Free Rad. Biol. Med. 2:419–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bergsten, P., Moura, A. S., Atwater, I., and Levine, M., 1994, Ascorbic acid and insulin secretion in pancreatic islets, J. Biol. Chem. 269:1041–1045.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Block, G., 1992, Vitamin C status and cancer: Epidemiologic evidence of reduced risk, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 669:280–292.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blot, W. J., Li, J. Y., Taylor, P. R., Guo, W., Dawsey, S., Wang, G-Q., Yang, C. S., Zheng, S-F., Gail, M., Li, G-Y., Yu, Y., Liu, B-Q., Tangrea, J., Sun, Y-H., Liu, F. Fraumeni Jr., J. F., Zhang, Y-H., and Li, B. 1993, Nutrition intervention trials in Linxian, China: Supplementation with specific vitamin/mineral combinations, cancer incidence, and disease-specific mortality in the general population, J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 85:1483–1492.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bowry, V. W., Ingold, K. U., and Stocker, R., 1992, Vitamin E in human low-density lipoprotein: When and how this antioxidant becomes a pro-oxidant, Biochem. J. 288:341–344.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Bucca, C, Rolla, G., and Farina, J. C, 1992, Effect of vitamin C on transient increase of bronchial responsiveness in conditions affecting the airways, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 669:175–187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burton, G. W., Wronska, U., Stone, L., Foster, D. O., and Ingold, K. U., 1990, Biokinetics of dietary RRR-a-tocopherol in the male guinea pig at three dietary levels of vitamin C and two levels of vitamin E. Evidence that vitamin C does not “spare”vitamin E in vivo, Lipids 25:199–210.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carpenter, K. J., 1986, The History of Scurvy and Vitamin C, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  14. Cunningham, J. J., Mearkle, P. L., and Brown, R. G., 1994, Vitamin C: An aldose reductase inhibitor that normalizes erythrocyte sorbitol in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 13:344–350.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Dawson, E. B., Harris, W. A., and Powell, L. C, 1990, Relationship between ascorbic acid and male fertility, in Aspects of Some Vitamins, Minerals and Enzymes in Health and Disease (G. H. Bourne, ed.), pp. 1–26, World Rev. Nutr. Diet., Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  16. Dickinson, V. A., Block, G., and Russek-Cohen, E., 1994, Supplement use, other dietary and demographic variables, and serum vitamin C in NHANES II, J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 13:22–32.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Dyke, G. W., Craven, J. L., Hall, R., and Garner, R. C, 1994, Effect of vitamin C supplementation on gastric mucosal DNA damage, Carcinogenesis 15:291–295.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elson, C. E., and Yu, S. G., 1994, The chemoprevention of cancer by mevalonate-derived constituents of fruits and vegetables, J. Nutr. 124:607–614.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Englard, S., and Scifter, S., 1986, The biochemical functions of ascorbic acid, Annu. Rev. Nutr. 6:365–406.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Enstrom, J. E., Kanim, L. E., and Klein, M. A., 1992, Vitamin C intake and mortality among a sample of the United States population, Epidemiology 3:194–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fahn, S., and Cohen, G., 1992, The oxidant stress hypothesis in Parkinson’s disease—evidence supporting it, Ann. Neurol. 32:804–812.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fraga, C. G., Motchnik, P. A., Shigenaga, M. K., Helbock, H. J., Jacob, R. A., and Ames, B. N., 1991, Ascorbic acid protects against endogenous oxidative DNA damage in human sperm, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88:11003–11006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Frei, B., England, L., and Ames, B. N., 1989, Ascorbate is an outstanding antioxidant in human blood plasma, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86:6377–6381.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Garry, P. J., Goodwin, J. S., Hunt, W. C, and Gilbert, B. A., 1982, Nutritional status in a healthy elderly population: Vitamin C, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 36:332–339.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Gershoff, S. N., 1993, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): New roles, new requirements?, Nutr. Rev. 51:313–326.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ghosh, S. K., Ekpo, E. B., Shah, I. U., Girling, A. J., Jenkins, C, and Sinclair, A. J., 1994, A doubleblind placebo-controlled parallel trial of vitamin C treatment in elderly patients with hypertension, Gerontology 40:268–272.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hallfrisch, J., Singh, V. N., Muller, D. C, Baldwin, H., Bannon, M. E., and Andres, R., 1994, High plasma vitamin C associated with high plasma HDL- and HDL2 cholesterol, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 60:100–105.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Hankinson, S. E., Stampfer, M. J., Seddon, J. M., Colditz, G. A., Rosner, B., Speizer, F. E., and Willett, W. C, 1992, Nutrient intake and cataract extraction in women, Brit. Med. J. 305:335–339.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hemila, H., 1994, Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold—a review of current evidence, Scand. J. Infect. Dis. 26:1–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Henning, S. M., Zhang, J. Z., McKee, R. W., Swendseid, M. E., Jacob, R. A., 1991, Glutathione blood levels and other oxidant defense indices in men fed diets low in vitamin C, J. Nutr. 121:1969–1975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Herbert, V., 1993, Dangers of iron and vitamin C supplements, J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 93:526–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hodges, R. E., Hood, J., Canham, J. E., Sauberlich, H. E., and Baker, E. M., 1971, Clinical manifestation of ascorbic acid deficiency in man, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 24:432–443.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hunt, J. R., Gallagher, S. K., and Johnson, L. K., 1994, Effect of ascorbic acid on apparent iron absorption by women with low iron stores, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 24:432–443.Google Scholar
  34. Jacob, R. A., 1994, Vitamin C, in Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th edition (M. E. Shils, J. A. Olson, and M. Shike, eds.), pp. 432–448, Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  35. Jacob, R. A., Skala, J. H., Omaye, S. T., and Turnlund, J. R., 1987a, Effect of varying ascorbic acid intakes on copper absorption and ceruloplasmin levels of young men, J. Nutr. 117:2109–2115.Google Scholar
  36. Jacob, R. A., Skala, J. H., and Omaye, S. T., 1987b, Biochemical indices of human vitamin C status, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 46:818–826.Google Scholar
  37. Jacob, R. A., Kelley, D. S., Pianalto, F. S., Swendseid, M. E., Henning, S. M., Zhang, J. Z., Ames, B. N., Fraga, C. G., and Peters, J. H., 1991, Immunocompetence and oxidant defense during ascorbate depletion of healthy men, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. (Suppl.) 54:1302S–1309S.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Jacob, R. A., Pianalto, F. S., and Agee, R. E., 1992, Cellular ascorbate depletion in healthy men, J. Nutr. 122:1111–1118.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Jacques, P. F., 1992, Relationship of vitamin C status to cholesterol and blood pressure, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 669:205–214.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jain, A., Martensson, J., Mehta, T., Krauss, A. N., Auld, P. A. M., and Meister, A., 1992, Ascorbic acid prevents oxidative stress in glutathione-deficient mice—effects on lung type 2 cell lamellar bodies, lung surfactant, and skeletal muscle, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:5093–5097.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jialal, I., Vega, G. L., and Grundy, S. M., 1990, Physiologic levels of ascorbate inhibit the oxidative modification of low density lipoprotein, Atherosclerosis 82:185–191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Johnston, CS., and Yen, M.-F., 1994, Megadose of vitamin C delays insulin response to a glucose challenge in normoglycemic adults, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 60:735–738.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Johnston, C. S., Martin, L. J., and Xi, C, 1992, Antihistamine effect of supplemental ascorbic acid and neutrophil Chemotaxis, J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 11:172–176.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Johnston, C. S., Meyer, C. G., and Srilakshmi, J. C, 1993, Vitamin C elevates red blood cell glutathione in healthy adults, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 58:103–105.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Jukes, T. H., 1988, The identification of vitamin C, an historical summary, J. Nutr. 118:1290–1293.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Kallner, A., Hartmann, D., and Hornig, D., 1977, On the absorption of ascorbic acid in man, Int. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res. 47:383–388.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Kallner, A., Hartman, D., and Hornig, D., 1979, Steady state turnover and body pool of ascorbic acid in man, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 32:530–539.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Kallner, A. B., Hartmann, D., and Hornig, D. H., 1981, On the requirement of ascorbic acid in man: Steady state turnover and body pool in smokers, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 34:1347–1355.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Kallner, A., Hornig, D., and Pellikka, R., 1985, Formation of carbon dioxide from ascorbate in man, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 41:609–613.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Kübier, W., and Gehler, J., 1970, Zur Kinetik der enteralen ascorbinsäure-resorption. Ein beitrag zur berechnung nicht dosisproportionaler resorptions Vorgänge, Int. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res. 40:442–453.Google Scholar
  51. Leggott, P. J., Robertson, P. B., Rothman, D. L., Murray, P. A., and Jacob, R. A., 1986, The effect of controlled ascorbic acid depletion and supplementation on periodontal health, J. Periodontol. 57:480–485.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Lind, J., 1753, A treatise on the scurvy, 3th edition. S. Crowder and Co., London, UK.Google Scholar
  53. Martensson, J., and Meister, A., 1991, Glutathione deficiency decreases tissue ascorbate levels in newborn rats: Ascorbate spares glutathione and protects, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88:4656– 4660.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Martensson, J., and Meister, A., 1992, Glutathione deficiency increases hepatic ascorbic acid synthesis in adult mice, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:11566–11568.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mirvish, S. S., 1994, Experimental evidence for inhibition of N-nitroso compound formation as a factor in the negative correlation between vitamin C consumption and the incidence of certain cancers, Cancer Res. 54:S1948–S1951.Google Scholar
  56. National Research Council, Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the RDAs, Food and Nutrition Board, 1989, Vitamin C, in Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th edition, pp. 115–124, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  57. Pauling, L., 1970, Vitamin C and the Common Cold, W. H. Freeman Co., San Francisco.Google Scholar
  58. Pecoraro, R. E., and Chen, M. S., 1987, Ascorbic acid metabolism in diabetes mellitus, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 498:248–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Penabad, C. R., Conde, I. B., and Marqui, C. P., 1994, Total free radical-trapping capacity of serum from diabetics, Clin. Chem. 40:2116–2117.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Peters, E. M., Goetzsche, J. M., Grobbelaar, B., and Noakes, T.D., 1993, Vitamin C supplementation reduces the incidence of postrace symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract infection in ultramarathon runners, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 57:170–174.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Pohl, H., and Reidy, J. A., 1989, Vitamin C intake influences the bleomycin-induced chromosome damage assay: Implications for detection of cancer susceptibility and chromosome breakage syndromes, Mutat. Res. 224:247–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rimm, E. B., Stampfer, M. J., Ascherio, A., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G. A., and Willett, W. C, 1993, Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease in men, N. Engl. J. Med. 328:1450–1456.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sauberlich, H. E., 1994, Pharmacology of vitamin C, Ann. Rev. Nutr. 14:371–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Schectman, G., Byrd, J. C, and Hoffmann, R., 1991, Ascorbic acid requirements for smokers: Analysis of a population survey, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 53:1466–1470.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Schwartz, J., and Weiss, S. T., 1994, Relationship between dietary vitamin C intake and pulmonary function in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 59:110–114.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Seddon, J. M., Christen, W. G., Manson, J. E., Lamotte, F. S., Glynn, R. J., Buring, J. E., and Hennekens, C. H., 1994, The use of vitamin supplements and the risk of cataract among U.S. male physicians, Am. J. Public Health 84:788–792.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Shklar, G., Schwartz, J., Trickier, D., and Cheverie, S. R., 1993, The effectiveness of a mixture of ß-carotene, α-tocopherol, glutathione, and ascorbic acid for cancer prevention, Nutr. Cancer 20:145–151.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Siegel, B. V., 1993, Vitamin C and the immune response in health and disease, in Nutrition and Immunology, vol. 8, Human Nutrition: A Comprehensive Treatise, pp. 167–196, Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  69. Simon, J. A., 1992, Vitamin C and cardiovascular disease: A review, J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 11:107–125.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Sperduto, R. D., 1993, Antioxidant status and neovascular age-related macular degeneration, Arch. Ophthalmol. 111:104–109.Google Scholar
  71. Sperduto, R. D., Hu, T. S., Milton, R. C, Zhao, J. L., Everett, D. F., Cheng, Q-F., Blot, W. J., Bing, L., Taylor, P. R., Jun-Yao, L., Dawsey, S., and Guo, W. D. 1993, The Linxian cataract studies, Arch. Ophthalmol. 111:1246–1253.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Stampfer, M. J., Hennekens, C. H., Manson, J. E., Colditz, G. A., Rosner, B., and Willett, W. C, 1993, Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary disease in women, N. Engl. J. Med. 328:1444–1449.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Steinberg, D., 1991, Antioxidants and atherosclerosis: A current assessment, Circulation 84:1420– 1425.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Tappel, A. L., Brown, W. D., Zalkin, H., and Maier, V. P., 1961, Unsaturated lipid peroxidation catalyzed by hematin compounds and its inhibition by vitamin E, J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 38:5–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Taylor, A., 1993, Cataract: Relationships between nutrition and oxidation, J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 12:138–146.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Varma, S.D., 1987, Ascorbic acid and the eye with special reference to the lens, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 498:280–306.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vitale, S., West, S., Hallfrisch, J., Alston, C, Wang, F., Moorman, C, Muller, D., Singh, V., and Taylor, H. R., 1993, Plasma antioxidants and risk of cortical and nuclear cataract, Epidemiology 4:195–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Vojdani, A., and Ghoneum, M., 1993, In vivo effect of ascorbic acid on enhancement of human natural killer cell activity, Nutr. Res. 13:753–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wayner, D. D. M., Burton, G. W., Ingold, K. U., Barclay, L. R. C, and Locke, S. J., 1987, The relative contributions of vitamin E, urate, ascorbate and proteins to the total peroxyl radical-trapping antioxidant activity of human blood plasma, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 924:408–419.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. West, S., Vitale, S., Hallfrisch, J., Munoz, B., Muller, D., Bressler, S., and Bressler, N. M., 1994, Are antioxidants or supplements protective for age-related macular degeneration?, Arch. Ophthalmol. 112:222–227.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. Winkler, B. S., 1992, Unequivocal evidence in support of the nonenzymatic redox coupling between glutathione/glutathione disulfide and ascorbic acid/dehydroascorbic acid, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1117:287–290.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Jacob
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Department of AgricultureAgricultural Research ServiceSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations