The role of ascorbate in antioxidant protection of biomembranes: interaction with vitamin E and coenzyme Q

J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1994 Aug;26(4):349-58. doi: 10.1007/BF00762775.


One of the vital roles of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is to act as an antioxidant to protect cellular components from free radical damage. Ascorbic acid has been shown to scavenge free radicals directly in the aqueous phases of cells and the circulatory system. Ascorbic acid has also been proven to protect membrane and other hydrophobic compartments from such damage by regenerating the antioxidant form of vitamin E. In addition, reduced coenzyme Q, also a resident of hydrophobic compartments, interacts with vitamin E to regenerate its antioxidant form. The mechanism of vitamin C antioxidant function, the myriad of pathologies resulting from its clinical deficiency, and the many health benefits it provides, are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants*
  • Ascorbic Acid / physiology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Free Radical Scavengers*
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Oxidoreductases / physiology
  • Ubiquinone / physiology*
  • Vitamin E / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Ubiquinone
  • Vitamin E
  • Oxidoreductases
  • glutathione dehydrogenase (ascorbate)
  • Ascorbic Acid