Ch.2: Ascorbic Acid

Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C

During the Age of Exploration, scurvy was an ever-present problem. Scurvy was cause for more death at sea than all other causes, including the total number of deaths from naval battles, piracy, shipwrecks, and other causes. Scurvy is caused by an Ascorbic Acid deficantcy. Abscorbic Acid is better known by its more familiar name, Vitamin C. Ascorbic Acid is not produced naturally in the body because humans lack gulonactone oxidase, the enzyme necessary for the final step of the production of vitamin C. Therefore, we must get or daily supplies of Vitamin C from our food. Ascorbic Acid also affects the production of collegen, which is responsible for skin's firmness and elasticity. Ascorbic acid had an influence on the course of history by directly affecting where ships had to stop, because of the need for fresh fruits to prevent scurvy, and therefore, dictating which islands were to be discovered, and which islands were not. (Le Couteur & Burreson 36-53)

Today, Ascorbic acid is used mainly as an antimocrobial agent for the preservation of food, as a preventative measure against the common cold, cancer, and scurvy, as well as an antioxidant.(Le Couteur & Burreson 36-53)