Ascorbate, ascorbic acid, and vitamin C are often used interchangeably. The molecule with vitamin function is ascorbate, which is produced from glucose and galactose by plants and many animals but not by humans. Sources in the human diet are (citrus) fruits, liver, kidney and cow's milk (Leaf & Lansdowne, 2014).
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. It is involved in iron homeostasis where it increases iron absorption. This is achieved through its weak chelating activity and reduction of Fe3+ to Fe2+, the iron state that is more easily absorbed in humans. In addition, vitamin C inhibits the expression of hepcidin and thus increases iron export from the enterocyte into the circulatory system (Abbaspour et al., 2014, Imam et al., 2017).