Effects of vitamin C on health: a review of evidence

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2013 Jun 1;18(3):1017-29. doi: 10.2741/4160.


Vitamin C is an essential dietary nutrient for the biosynthesis of collagen and a co-factor in the biosynthesis of catecholamines, L-carnitine, cholesterol, amino acids, and some peptide hormones. The lack of vitamin C causes scurvy, a pathological condition leading to blood vessel fragility and connective tissue damage due to failure in producing collagen, and, finally, to death as result of a general collapse. Vitamin C is potentially involved also in cancer and cardiovascular diseases prevention. In addition, vitamin C effects on nervous system and chronically ill patients have been also documented. This review attempts to summarize recent and well established advances in vitamin C research and its clinical implications. Since vitamin C has the potential to counteract inflammation and subsequent oxidative damage that play a major role in the initiation and progression of several chronic and acute diseases, it represents a practical tool to administer for the early prevention of these pathologic conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Critical Illness
  • Eye Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Nervous System / drug effects


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Ascorbic Acid