Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) is a water-soluble vitamin. It occurs as a white or slightly yellow crystal or powder with a light acidic taste. It is an antiscorbutic product. On exposure to air and light it gradually darkens. In the dry state it is reasonably stable in air, but in solution it rapidly oxidizes. Ascorbic Acid is freely soluble in water; sparingly soluble in alcohol; insoluble in chloroform, ether, and benzene.
Ascorbic acid is recommended for the prevention and treatment of scurvy. Its parenteral administration is desirable for patients with an acute deficiency or for those whose absorption of orally ingested ascorbic acid is uncertain.
Symptoms of mild deficiency may include faulty bone and tooth development, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and loosened teeth. Febril states, chronic illness, and infection (pneumonia, whooping cough, tuberculosis, diphtheria, sinusitis, rheumatic fever, etc.) increases the need for ascorbic acid.