Ascorbic acid is vitamin C, a nutrient that is well known to be essential for health since humans cannot make their own. Vitamin C was first recognized for its role in the formation of collagen, which is the connective tissue of skin, bones, cartilage, teeth, muscles, and blood vessel walls. Vitamin C is also useful as a treatment for colds, likely due to its effects on the immune system. Modern research has found a wide variety of other important roles that ascorbic acid plays in the body.
Ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant. It is particularly important for protecting lipids and fat-soluble vitamins from the damage caused by free radicals, the oxidative byproducts of cellular metabolism. Ascorbic acid also has a role in detoxification and helps to prevent the formation of certain carcinogenic products.
In addition to its roles as a powerful antioxidant, detoxifying agent, and cellular protector, vitamin C also has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system through its influence on elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels by promoting collagen production and healthy blood vessels.