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Vitamin C

Oxidative stress and adrenocortical insufficiency

Several antioxidants, both enzymatic and non-enzymatic, are highly expressed in comparison to other tissues. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which recycles a-tocopherol (vitamin A) radicals, is present at the highest levels in the adrenal cortex (Hornig 1975), indeed endogenous ascorbic acid was first isolated from adrenal tissue (Svirbely & Szent-Gyorgyi 1932). Depletion of ascorbic acid secondary to vitamin A deficiency in rats leads to adrenocortical degeneration (Gruber et al. 1976)

Interaction of vitamin C and iron

Vitamin C enhances absorption of non-heme iron (found in plant-based foods) in the GI tract because an acidic environment favors the ferrous form of iron, which is better absorbed than the ferric form