The Reversibility of the Vitamin C Redox System: Electrochemical Reasons and Biological Aspects

Helmut Sapper 1 , Sa-Ouk Institut für Biophysik der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Leihgestemer Weg 217, D-6300 Gießen, Hans-Helmut Paul 1  and Wolfgang Lohmann 1
  • 1 Institut für Biophysik der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Leihgestemer Weg 217, D-6300 Gießen

Abstract

The biological efficacy of vitamin C depends on its redox abilities as given by the relations between ascorbic acid, semidehydroascorbic acid, and dehydroascorbic acid. It is shown by means of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy that the enzymatic (by ascorbate oxidase) as well as non-enzymatic (by iodine) oxidation of ascorbic acid is, in principle, reversible despite the hydration and structural changes during the formation of dehydroascorbic acid. The strong redox activity of semidehydroascorbic acid which results in a fast disproportionation to ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid is inferred from an inversion of the electrochemical potentials of the vitamin C redox system. The capacity of this is maintained by a fast reduction of dehydro­ ascorbic acid e.g. by reduced glutathione, preventing its delactonization and further degradation.

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A Journal of Biosciences: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C (ZNC) is an international scientific journal for the emerging field of natural and natural-like products. ZNC publishes original research on the isolation, bio-chemical synthesis and bioactivities of natural products, their biochemistry, pharmacology, biotechnology, and biological activity and innovative developed computational methods for predicting their structure and/or function.

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