Ascorbic Acid vs Sodium Ascorbate
It is the form in which each exists that decides the difference between ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate. Both ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbateare are forms of Vitamin C and are common food additives, where more specifically sodium ascorbate falls under the category of mineral salts. Therefore, while ascorbic acid is the pure form of Vitamin C, sodium ascorbate is the sodium salt of ascorbic acid.
What is Ascorbic Acid?
As the name suggests, ascorbic acid is acidic in nature and dissolves well in water to give mildly acidic solutions. It is an organic chemical compound with a polyhydroxy function that gives it antioxidant properties. Hence, ascorbic acid is used as a common antioxidant food additive.
Many animals and plants can synthesize ascorbic acid from glucose. However, humans and some higher primates are unable to do so due to the lack of an important enzyme in the ascorbic acid biosynthesis pathway. Therefore, humans are compelled to obtain it through diet to avoid Vitamin C deficiency. The deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to several illnesses such as ‘scurvy,’ which can be deadly. Ascorbic acid was previously called ‘L-hexuronic acid‘ and the main form that occurs in nature is the ‘L’ isomer. However, there exists a D-ascorbic acid that is quite similar to L-ascorbic acid in antioxidant activity but less in Vitamin C activity. Furthermore, the antioxidant activity of ascorbic acid only has a small role in the total vitamin activity. But, for specific reaction in the body, it is important that the correct isomer is present.