Vitamin C (from acerola fruit extract)

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble vitamin found mainly in fruits and vegetables, particularly in citrus fruits such as oranges. Vitamin C functions as a reducing agent and thereby demonstrates potent antioxidant activity. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to the disease scurvy, which involves the deterioration of elastic tissue, demonstrating the important role of ascorbic acid in the synthesis of connective tissues such as collagen in bones 1. Dietary vitamin C is efficiently absorbed through the intestine.

Vitamin C is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (21CFR182.8013). The U.S. FDA has established a Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of 60 mgs vitamin C for adults and children 4 or more years of age (21CFR101.9). RDIs are a set of dietary references for essential vitamins and minerals that are considered amounts sufficient to meet the daily requirements of healthy individuals. RDIs serve as the basis for calculating the percent daily value (%DV) amounts found on dietary supplement and food labels.

Acerola extract is obtained from the fruit of the small tree, Malpighia glabra or Malpighia punicifolia. Acerola is grown in tropical regions of the Americas. The fruit is known for being one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C and also contains vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and polyphenols, such as anthocyanins. Acerola fruit extract acts as an antioxidant, likely due to the presence of some of these nutrients 2. Most acerola fruit is processed into fruit products, such as jams, jellies and juices, or added to dietary supplements as a source of vitamin C 3.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2000.
  2. Natural Standard Database. 2009.
  3. Ensminger AH, Ensminger ME, Konlande JE, Robson JRK. The Concise Encyclopedia of Foods and Nutrition. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 1995.