What is Ascorbate? – Bakery/Food Ingredient – Side Effects, History, FDA Approval

What is Ascorbate?

Sodium ascorbate is one of a number of mineral salts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is used by food industries to protect their product from deterioration, oxidation as Ascorbate is proved to have anti-oxidant property.It is the supplement of vitamin C and is more bioavailable and alkaline than ascorbic acid.

It is found naturally in citrus fruits and many vegetables.Ascorbate is white or almost white coloured odourless crystalline powder which darkens on exposure to light. As the solutions of ascorbic acid are rapidly oxidized in air and in alkaline media, the drug should be protected from air and light.

Synonyms or Chemical Names:Sodium ascorbate; L-Ascorbic acid sodium salt; Sodium L-ascorbate; 134-03-2; Vitamin C sodium; Ascorbicin

Molecular formula:C6H7O6Na or C6H7NaO6

Molecular weight:198.106 g/mol

Solubility: Ascorbate is soluble in water, very slightly soluble in alcohol and insoluble in chloroform.

Commercial Production of Ascorbate:

Sodium ascorbate is produced by dissolving ascorbic acid in water and adding an equivalent amount of sodium bicarbonate in water. After cessation of effervescence, the sodium ascorbate is precipitated by the addition of isopropanol.

History & origin of Ascorbate:

From the middle of the 18th century, lemon and lime juice help prevent sailors from getting scurvy. In 1928, Szent-Györgyi isolated an organic reducing agent, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), present in oranges, lemons and cabbage and are consumed to prevent and treat scurvy. Afterwards, Ascorbic acid was used in the preparation of various Vitamin C supplements like Ascorbate etc. used by human beings.

It can be found in pork pies, quick-frozen fish and lobster, sausages, scotch eggs, smoked frankfurters, tinned meats and both tinned and cereal based baby foods.

Uses of Ascorbate in Food Products

  • Ascorbate is used as an additive in food preparation as an anti-oxidant, nutrition fortifier.
  • Ascorbate is used as a stabilizer.
  • It is used for meat products, dairy products, canned products etc.

Health Effects of Ascorbate

Advantages and Functions of Ascorbate:

  • Ascorbate is used in food preparations because of its property of anti-oxidation, thus it has been as an anti-oxidant, which keeps the skin young and rejuvenating.
  • It is used as an Acidity regulator, thus patients having gastric problems can take ascorbate for the betterment of their health.
  • It prevents and treats deficiency of Vitamin C in body.
  • It eliminates chronic and acute infection.
  • It is also considered as an anti-cancer agent.
  • It helps in the formation of collagen fibres and healing of wounds.
  • Ascorbate enhances the absorption of iron consumed from plant source.

Disadvantages of Ascorbate:

  • Ascorbate contains enough sodium, so it is restricted in patients having hypertension.
  • It can cause diarrhoea.
  • It is probably combustible.

Side Effects of consuming high dose of Ascorbate:

  • Normally one should consume less than 10 gms, but if he/she is consuming higher than this there are certain side effects which are listed below:
  • Causes diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.
  • Causes stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting.
  • Tissues exposed to ascorbic acid respond more vigorously.
  • Aggravate hypertension.

FDA Approval on Usage of Ascorbate in Food Products:

It is approved by FDA to use it as a food additive in USA, EU, New Zealand and Australia.21 CFR 182.3731 (USFDA); U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Available from, as of March 19, 2010: http://www.ecfr.gov 



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