Affiliation: Centro Ricerche Oncologiche di Mercogliano, Istituto Nazionale Per Lo Studio E La Cura Dei Tumori “Fondazione Giovanni Pascale”, IRCCS, Italy.
Ascorbic acid (AA), also known as vitamin C, was initially identified as the factor preventing the scurvy disease, and became very popular for its antioxidant properties. It is an important co-substrate of a large class of enzymes, and regulates gene expression by interacting with important transcription factors. AA is important in all stressful conditions that are linked to inflammatory processes and involve immunity. It has been known for decades that the persistence of an inflammatory stimulus is responsible for the onset of many diseases. AA is essential to stimulate the immune system by increasing the strength and protection of the organism. Therefore, its immunostimulant, antinflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial roles are well known, we have summarized its main functions in different types of diseases related to the immune system and chronic inflammation. We can conclude that AA, due to its effects and diversity of regulated pathways, is suitable for use in various fields of medicine including immunology, toxicology, radiobiology and others. AA is not preferable to be used as an isolated mode of treatment, but it can be co-applied as an adjuvant to regulate immunity, gene expression and other important physiological processes. However, we propose that future studies will take into consideration the research of new combinations of antioxidant natural substances and drugs.