Forward: [This is a very detailed description of vitamin C and free radical interaction. It is interesting to note that H2O2 can act as a reductant and supply 2 high energy electrons, as ascorbate can, under the right conditions. This makes for some interesting ramifications. Under the right redox potential H202 could recycle dehydroascorbate back to ascorbate.] ----------------------------------- Medical Hypotheses May 1991: 35:32-37 A UNIQUE FUNCTION FOR ASCORBATE Robert F. Cathcart, III. 127 Second Street, Los Altos, California 94022, USA Telephone 415-949-2822 ABSTRACT Vitamin C is a reducing substance, an electron donor. When vitamin C donates its two high-energy electrons to scavenge free radicals, much of the resulting dehydroascorbate is rereduced to vitamin C and therefore used repeatedly. Conventional wisdom is correct in that only small amounts of vitamin C are necessary for this function because of its repeated use. The point missed is that the limiting part in nonenzymatic free radical scavenging is the rate at which extra high-energy electrons are provided through NADH to rereduce the vitamin C and other free radical scavengers. When ill, free radicals are formed at a rate faster than the high- energy electrons are made available. Doses of vitamin C as large as 1 to 10 grams per 24 hours do only limited good. However, when ascorbate is used in massive amounts, such as 30 to 200+ grams per 24 hours, these amounts directly provide the electrons necessary to quench the free radicals of almost any inflammation. Additionally, in high concentrations ascorbate reduces NAD(P)H and therefore can provide the high-energy electrons necessary to reduce the molecular oxygen used in the respiratory burst of phagocytes. In these functions, the ascorbate part is mostly wasted but the necessary high-energy electrons are provided in large amounts.