The key difference between vitamin C and ascorbic acid is that the ascorbic acid is the term that we use to name the purest form of vitamin C.
Ascorbic acid is the chemical name of vitamin C. However, vitamin C always is not ascorbic acid, though many people use these terms interchangeably. It is because we can find vitamin C either naturally or synthetically, and these two forms may not be as pure as ascorbic acid. After all, both these terms name the same chemical compound, but the application of the term differs according to the purity of the compound.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an organic compound having the chemical formula C6H8O6. The molar mass of this compound is 176.12 g/mol. The melting point and boiling points are 190 °C and 553 °C respectively. This vitamin occurs in certain foods, and we can use it as a dietary supplement as well. The terms “Ascorbic acid” and “L-Ascorbic acid” are synonyms for this compound though they are slightly different from each other. Moreover, it is an essential nutrient for us because it can repair tissues in our body and can lead to the enzymatic production of some neurotransmitters. More importantly, it is an antioxidant.
The natural sources of this vitamin are fruits such as citrus fruits, kiwifruit, strawberries and other food such as broccoli, raw bell pepper, etc. However, longer storage or cooking can destroy the vitamin C in food. The deficiency of this vitamin may cause the Scurvy disease. This disease occurs when the collagen that our body produces is unable to function properly without vitamin C.
This vitamin is available in both natural and synthetic forms. We call the purest form of vitamin C as “ascorbic acid”. Most of the times, the purest forms are made in laboratories. The natural forms are in combination with other components. Therefore, we need to refine and process the food in order to get the vitamin out of the food.
What is Ascorbic Acid?
Ascorbic acid is the chemical name of vitamin C. However, this term refers to the purest form of vitamin C only, though people use these terms interchangeably. Most of the times, purest form is the synthetic form because the natural vitamin occurs in food along with many other components where we need to refine and process food in order to take this vitamin out of the food.
What is the Difference Between Vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid?
Vitamin C is an organic compound having the chemical formula C6H8O6. It occurs in different purity levels in nature and in supplements where we use a synthetic form of this vitamin. Ascorbic acid is the chemical name of vitamin C. Moreover, the term ascorbic acid refers to the purest form of vitamin C.
The below infographic presents the difference between vitamin C and ascorbic acid in tabular form.
Summary – Vitamin C vs Ascorbic Acid
Both terms vitamin C and ascorbic acid refers to the same chemical compound having the chemical formula C6H8O6. However, the two terms are different from each other according to the use of the term. The key difference between vitamin C and ascorbic acid is that the ascorbic acid is the term that we use to name the purest form of vitamin C.
1.”NIH citrus” (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia