An ascorbate test is a test that is conducted to ascertain the levels of vitamin C or ascorbic acid in the body. This is sometimes necessary during cases of suspected scurvy and sometimes even during a pregnancy test. Scurvy is an age-old affliction of the human race and manifests itself with sores all over the body. Continuous spells of scurvy can be fatal. It is sometimes measured in pregnancy because it has the effect of inhibiting the power of progesterone – the pregnancy hormone. If a pregnant woman has too high levels of ascorbate in her body, it could theoretically cause a miscarriage in no time.
This is quite rare because the levels of vitamin C tolerated by the body are extremely high and one would get indigestion and diarrhea before coming even close to toxicity.
An ascorbic acid test is done to check for the levels of vitamin C in the body. This is a test that can confirm a case of scurvy. Vitamin C is an important essential nutrient in our body and acts as an important part in enzymatic reactions and, most importantly, it is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that mop up substances in our bodies called free radicals. These are highly reactive chemicals that form during normal metabolic processes or are absorbed and ingested in the body through activities like smoking, for example. Other vitamins that are major antioxidants include vitamin E and other important antioxidants include alpha lipoic acid.
The test for ascorbic acid is performed by two possible methods – the Dichlorophenolindophenol or DCPIP test and liquid chromatography. The DCPIP test is done by taking a blood sample or a urine sample and measures the amount of ascorbate in bodily fluids. The second test is a more definitive but difficult test to perform and uses a technique called reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography to measure the amount of ascorbate that is stored in tissue.
Ascorbic acid testing requires no preparation at all and the point is that your normal levels with normal activity are measured to figure out what you might be doing right or wrong. Do not try and eat any citrus fruits before the test, as this could skew the results slightly and would not be indicative of correct vitamin C values in the blood and tissues of your body in normal situations.