Multiple effects of ascorbic acid against chronic diseases: Updated evidence from preclinical and clinical studies

Massimiliano Berretta, Vincenzo Quagliariello, Nicola Maurea, Raffaele Di Francia, Saman Sharifi, Gaetano Facchini, Luca Rinaldi, Michela Piezzo, Ceccarelli Manuela, Giuseppe Nunnari, Monica Montopoli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Severe disease commonly manifests as a systemic inflammatory process. Inflammation is associated withthe enhanced production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and with a marked reduction in the plasma concentrations of protective antioxidant molecules. This imbalance gives rise to oxidative stress, which is greater in patients with more severe conditions such as sepsis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and burns. In these patients, oxidative stress can trigger cell, tissue, and organ damage, thus increasing morbidity and mortality. Ascorbic acid (ASC) is a key nutrient thatserves as an antioxidant and a cofactor for numerous enzymatic reactions. However, humans, unlike most mammals, are unable to synthesize it. Consequently, ASC must be obtained through dietary sources, especially fresh fruit and vegetables. The value of administering exogenous micronutrients, to reestablish antioxidant concentrations in patients with severe disease, has been recognized for decades. Despite the suggestion that ASC supplementation may reduce oxidative stress and prevent several chronic conditions, few large, randomized clinical trials have tested it in patients with severe illness. This article reviews the recent literature on the pharmacological profile of ASC and the role of its supplementation in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1182
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Antioxidant
  • ASC
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Immune system
  • Infectious diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiple effects of ascorbic acid against chronic diseases: Updated evidence from preclinical and clinical studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this