Biochemistry Test

Ascorbic acid test

Dr. Nithin Jayan
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nithin Jayan, MBBS, DNB
Last Updated on Mar 29, 2014
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Test : Ascorbic acid test

Indications : The test is ordered when-

Vitamin C deficiency is suspected
Excess intake of vitamin C is suspected

A fasting blood sample is taken to carry out the vitamin C test.

Physiology : Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is a reducing agent and a powerful anti oxidant. It has several body functions. They include-

Formation of neuropeptides
Production of adrenal cortical hormones
Formation of collagen
Metabolism of tyrosine and folate
Lipid and vitamin metabolism
Detoxifying enzymes in the liver
Destruction of free radicals
Preserving and restoring antioxidant potential of vitamin E
Block the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines

Interpretation : Normal Value
0.6-2.0 mg/dL

Values <0.3 mg/dL indicate significant vitamin C deficiency while >0.6 mg/dL indicate adequacy.

Deficiency indicates-

Inadequate intake of the vitamin

Scurvy - Prolonged vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, a disease that results in inadequate formation of intercellular substance in connective tissues and causes swollen, ulcerative lesions in gums, mouth, and other organs thereby weakening them.

Early symptoms of scurvy-

Weakness,
Fatigue / listlessness
Shortness of breath
Pain in the joints, bones, muscles.

Values >3.0 mg/dL indicate excess intake. It has been said that excess of vitamin C is toxic but this is not certain. Uricosuria is a condition that may be found in those with excessive vitamin C values.

More Information

The need for vitamin C increases with-

Use of aspirin
Use of tetracycline and other medications
Psychological stress
Advancing age

Care must be taken to include fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet of the elderly to avoid a near-scurvy status.

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