When not in vitamin C form, ascorbic acid may be used in solutions to develop film. It oxidizes easily, but prevents the destruction of various cells - hence the term antioxidant. It must be stored in a cool dark place. It also oxidizes in the presence of metals, so it should not be stored in any type of metal container.
As vitamin C, ascorbic acid was once invaluable in preventing diseases like scurvy, caused by lengthy ship voyages. To combat scurvy, sailors and passengers were often given oranges, which are high in vitamin C. While most animals synthesize this acid naturally, humans and primates do not. For this reason, supplementation is required, generally available through food sources. Along with citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, and cranberries are all excellent sources of ascorbic acid.
Since the discovery that ascorbic acid could prevent scurvy, modern natural food manufacturers have sought to market vitamin C in tablet form. Vitamin C is also a frequent addition to fruit juices. There has been much debate over the ability of vitamin C to prevent the common cold. While for years, natural foods manufacturers insisted that taking large amounts of vitamin C could actually shorten cold duration, the final result of clinical trials suggests that vitamin C reduces the cold by little more than half a day.
However, when vitamin C is combined with zinc, it has a tendency to reduce the number of days a cold lasts, largely due to the properties in zinc. Fortunately, vitamin C does not have a high rate of toxicity, even at very high doses. Therefore, while taking large doses may not improve one’s cold, it is also not likely to harm one in any way.
Ascorbic acid is essential to the body’s processes, and all humans must consume it through either food or supplementation. Vitamin C helps to produce collagen. It is also vital in the production of dopamine and adrenaline, and necessary to the function of almost all major organs.
Low levels of ascorbic acid can result in loose teeth, anemia, inability to heal quickly, and easier bruising. In general, though, people with fairly healthy diets get enough of this substance without supplementation. When a person's diet is low in vitamin C, supplementation should be considered to promote overall health.
Since most cooking methods deplete the content of vitamin C, one of the best methods for adding it to one’s diet is to eat citrus fruits raw, or to very lightly cook green vegetables like broccoli. Spinach salad is a tasty way to add more vitamin C to your diet. Vitamin C has recently been added not just to many foods, but also to many cosmetic products, particularly skin creams marketed as “anti-aging.” It is too early to tell if these products are effective, though some users feel they are quite beneficial.