Vitamin C is now commonly referred to as ascorbic acid because of its acidic character and its effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of scorbutus (scurvy). The acidic character is because of the two enolic hydroxyls; the C3 hydroxyl has a pKa value of 4.1, and the C2 hydroxyl has a pKa of 11.6. All biological activities reside in L-ascorbic acid (Fig. 28.47); therefore, all references to vitamin C, ascorbic acid, ascorbate, and their derivatives refer to this form. The monobasic sodium salt (Fig. 28.48) is the usual salt form.
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