Vitamin C complex and ascorbic acid are used interchangeably in most of the medical literature but are not actually synonymous terms. Despite their generally interchangeable usage throughout the medical literature, the functions of Vitamin C and ascorbic acid in the human body differ but are complementary.
Vitamin C is a complex of nutrients
Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.1 He is credited for his discovery of Vitamin C and its components (Vitamin C complex). He identified the first component of Vitamin C as hexuronic acid which was later named ascorbic acid. The second component he identified as bioflavonoids.2
Vitamin C is a complex, as found in most foods, and contains the following:
- Rutin (Vitamin P)2,3 is one of the flavonoids, also called bioflavonoids, and strengthens blood vessels and other collagen-containing tissues.
- “K” factor supports the clotting mechanism of the blood.
- “J” factor supports the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, which is important for all cells.
- Tyrosinase (as organic copper) is a trace element activator.
- Ascorbic acid, as an antioxidant, is (a) part of the naturally occurring Vitamin C complex. It functions to preserve the fragile rutin, other bioflavonoids, and the other components of the complex.
The Vitamin C complex is a conglomerate of many nutrients, called cofactors, that include enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, and other yet unknown factors that biochemically activate the vitamin.4 These known and unknown nutrients are interrelated and cannot act independently of one another. The nutrients are synergistic and interactive complexes. Synergy means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The synergistic function produces more and better results than any part separated from the whole.
The single most important role of Vitamin C complex in the human body is the production and maintenance of collagen.
Ascorbic acid is an isolated compound
Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, described ascorbic acid in the following statement:
Vitamin C as found in virtually all “Vitamin C” supplements currently available, is ascorbic acid, an isolated crystalline chemical made from refined corn sugar.5
Ascorbic acid does not contain rutin, bioflavonoids, the “K” and “J” factors, tyrosinase, and the trace elements. The synthetic crystalline ascorbic acid must combine with the other components obtained from foods to form Vitamin C complex to produce collagen. Ascorbic acid by itself cannot produce collagen.
However, as noted previously, ascorbic acid does play an important role in the body as an antioxidant.
Disclaimer: The above statements have not been evaluated by the United States FDA. The product offered for sale by Capsibon Botanicals, LLC is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the professional advice of your qualified healthcare professional.
- Stone I. The healing factor: “vitamin C” against disease. New York: Grosset & Dunlap; 1972.
- Newbold HL. Vitamin C against cancer. 1st ed. New York: Stein and Day; 1979.
- Desaulniers V. What Is Vitamin P and How Can It Help Prevent Cancer? https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/vitamin-p-cancer/. Accessed 11/5/2018.
- Murray RP, DeCava JA. Nutritional Insights-1: A Guide for Natural Healthcare Practitioners. Boulder, CO: Creative Bureau, Inc.; 1999.
- DeCava JA. The real truth about vitamins and antioxidants. Centerville, MA: a Printery; 1997.