# 20.9: Vitamin C


The "antiscorbutic" factor of fresh fruits, which prevents the development of the typical symptoms of scurvy in humans, is a carbohydrate derivative known as vitamin C or ascorbic acid. This substance is not a carboxylic acid, but a lactone, and owes its acidic properties (and ease of oxidation) to the presence of an enediol grouping. It belongs to the $$L$$ series by the glyceraldehyde convention:

Most animals are able to synthesize vitamin C in their livers but, in the course of evolution, man has lost this capacity.