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April 27, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(17):1668-1669. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810170064010

The availability of ample quantities of synthetic ascorbic acid has made possible extensive studies of the physical, chemical and physiologic properties of this vitamin.1 Among the many properties of ascorbic acid, its reversible oxidation-reduction behavior has been extensively examined. The oxidation of ascorbic acid with the formation of dehydroascorbic acid and the reduction of the latter to the vitamin again has been studied in physical-chemical and physiologic systems. The data obtained have led to the suggestion that one of the chief functions of ascorbic acid in animal tissues is that of a reversible oxidation-reduction system, acting as a carrier in a respiratory system in which a substrate may be combusted and oxygen utilized.

The concept of ascorbic acid functioning in animal tissues as a reversible oxidation-reduction carrier appears to be supported by a variety of evidence. Physical-chemical measurements of the oxidation-reduction potential of the vitamin have made it evident

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