Water-soluble Vitamin C is an essential cofactor for numerous enzymatic activities and is also an important antioxidant. It is involved in the creation of collagen, catecholamine, and L-carnitine.
As an antioxidant it also plays a role in protecting the body’s tissues from damage caused by free radicals. These roles means that it helps to support both the immune and cardiovascular systems.
Vitamin C is also known by the name ascorbic acid:
(5R)-[(1S)-1,2-Dihydroxyethyl]-3,4-dihydroxyfuran-2(5H)-one. It plays a key role in electron transfer and associated redox reactions. Its role as as an enzymatic cofactor helps to maintain metals in a reduced form. It thus assists in the bio-molecular synthesis performance of enzymes . This vitamin is also able to aid the regeneration of vitamin E once it has become oxidised .
As the major water-soluble antioxidant found in the plasma, it is not surprising that vitamin C has a major role in the protection of biological molecules from damage caused by reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Indeed, vitamin C plays an essential role in the protection of fats, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and proteins from damage.
Liposomal Vitamin C Supplement
Unfortunately standard oral vitamin C does not have high bioavailability and is quickly passed through the body as waste products. To address this problem, liposomal vitamin C uses liposomes for better absorption,
Liposomes are very small fat-soluble vehicles that aid the delivery of a nutrient that may otherwise be damaged or removed by the body’s digestive system . Incorporating vitamin C into a liposome allows it to better pass through the digestive wall. This results in much higher amounts of vitamin C being able to be absorbed into the bloodstream than is observed when using more traditional supplement forms.
Using phospholipid based liposomal vitamin C may result in higher circulating concentrations of vitamin C than traditional oral vitamin C, and helps to protect from ischemia–reperfusion-mediated oxidative stresses at a similar level to intravenous administration of the vitamin.
Supplementation with Vitamin C and other nutrients is popular with athletes as it may help to enhance exercise performance and improve physiological function . The supplementation of vitamin C is thought to help protect against the effects caused by exercise-induced reactive oxygen species. Some of the benefits that vitamin C is thought to portray include protection of muscles from damage, supporting against fatigue, and supporting against immune dysfunction .
Beneficial Health Aspects of Vitamin C
As a key cofactor and antioxidant vitamin C plays a role in the support of numerous bodily functions and activities.
It is able to cross the blood brain barrier and may help to support cognition through interactions with neurological enzymes and hormones [6, 7]. It is also thought to have a neuroprotective role as it protects against the toxicity that can occur when cells are stimulated excessively .
Vitamin C is also reported to help support cardiovascular health and metabolism of glucose. It is thought of protect the endothelium and help preserve the function of the NOS enzyme (eNos). This antioxidant effect of vitamin C may thus help to support blood flow through increased nitric oxide (NO) production [9, 10].
Returning to the subject of athletic performance, vitamin C is able to be stored in the skeletal muscle. This allows it to readily confer antioxidant activities on various aspects of muscle metabolism . Upon exercise, vitamin C (taken in conjunction with vitamin E) is able to support the decrease of IL-6 production. It is therefore likely of help support skeletal muscle from inflammation and to have a role in the fat burning processes associated with training .
Vitamin C is also thought to be involved in messaging the stimulation of glucose production in the liver when glucose levels become diminished in muscle tissues . It is also thought that vitamin C may help to support endurance and to have an effect upon insulin sensitivity.
Vitamin C is known to interact with various hormones. It is able to reduce spiking of cortisol levels following acute prolonged exercise (at a dosage of 1 to 1.5 g for 12 days) . It has also been reported to help support testicular function through a protective effect upon testosterone when subjected to noise and alcohol stresses . This important vitamin may also help to reduce the secretion of adrenaline in the adrenal glands during stressful situations .
- Oregon State University Micronutrient Information Center: Vitamin C [http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C]
- University of Maryland Medical System: An overview of Vitamin C [http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-c-ascorbic-acid]
- Medline Plus [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002404.htm]
- National Institute of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet [https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/]
Citations, Reviews, Abstracts, and References
 Erdman et al. Present knowledge in nutrition. 10th ed. Ames, Iowa: International Life Sciences Institute; 2012
 Carr and Frei. Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C based on antioxidant and health effects in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;69(6):1086-107.
 Akbarzadeh et al. Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications. Nanoscale Res Lett. 2013; 8(1): 102.
 Gerster et al. The role of vitamin C in athletic performance. J Am Coll Nutr. 1989 Dec;8(6):636-43.
 Braakhuis. Effect of vitamin C supplements on physical performance. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Jul-Aug;11(4):180-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825e19cd.
 Rush and Geffen. Dopamine beta-hydroxylase in health and disease. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 1980;12(3):241-77.
 Chatterjee et al. Synthesis and some major functions of vitamin C in animals. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1975 Sep 30;258:24-47.
 Atlante et al. Glutamate neurotoxicity in rat cerebellar granule cells: a major role for xanthine oxidase in oxygen radical formation. J Neurochem. 1997 May;68(5):2038-45.
 Peterson et al. Opposing effects of reactive oxygen species and cholesterol on endothelial nitric oxide synthase and endothelial cell caveolae. Circulatio Research. 1999 Jul 9;85(1):29-37.
 Heller et al. L-Ascorbic acid potentiates nitric oxide synthesis in endothelial cells. J Biol Chem. 1999 Mar 19;274(12):8254-60.
 Peternelj and Coombes. Antioxidant supplementation during exercise training: beneficial or detrimental? Sports Med. 2011 Dec 1;41(12):1043-69.
 Doctor Fischer et al. Supplementation with vitamins C and E inhibits the release of interleukin-6 from contracting human skeletal muscle. Journal Physiol. 2004 Jul 15;558(Pt 2):633-45
 Keller et al. Transcriptional activation of the IL-6 gene in human contracting skeletal muscle: influence of muscle glycogen content. FASEB J. 2001 Dec;15(14):2748-50.
 Davison and Gleeson. Influence of acute vitamin C and/or carbohydrate ingestion on hormonal, cytokine, and immune responses to prolonged exercise. International Journal of Sport and Nutritional Exercise and Metabolism. 2005 Oct;15(5):465-79.
 Harikrishnan et al. Protective effect of ascorbic acid against ethanol-induced reproductive toxicity in male guinea pigs. Br J Nutr. 2013 Aug;110(4):689-98
 Kallner. Influence of vitamin C status on the urinary excretion of catecholamines in stress. Hum Nutr Clin Nutr. 1983 Dec;37(6):405-11.