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DSM in Food, Beverages & Dietary Supplements

Quali®-C (vitamin C)

With over 15 forms of vitamin C and a 75-year track record in its production, DSM offers something for nearly every type of food, beverage or supplement application.


In fact we offer the most complete range of pure vitamin C sizes and product forms worldwide to serve the highly varied needs of the human nutrition and pharmaceutical sectors. With over 15 forms of vitamin C, DSM offers something suitable for nearly every type of food, beverage or supplement application. For example, to respond to customers’ and consumers’ concerns about quality...we introduced the Quali®-C brand - as the seal of guarantee for a premium vitamin C. Quali®-C is the world’s first branded vitamin C. In short, buying Quali®-C guarantees customers the peace of mind they can only get from the best supplier.

Citrus fruits

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin and an essential health ingredient that the body cannot produce itself and that needs to absorb through our diet or by supplements. Vitamin C is widely found in fruits and vegetables including citrus fruits, blackcurrants, peppers, green vegetables (such as broccoli), brussels sprouts, and fruits like strawberries, guava, mango and kiwi. Depending on the season, one medium-sized glass of freshly pressed orange juice (100g) yields from 15 to 35mg vitamin C.

The synthesis of vitamin C was achieved by Reichenstein in 1933, and this was followed by industrial production five years later by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. (the vitamin division which is now part of DSM). Today, synthetic vitamin C, identical to that occurring in nature, is produced from glucose on an industrial scale by chemical and biotechnical synthesis.

Key benefits

The most prominent role of vitamin C is its immune-stimulating effect. It’s important for defence against infections such as common colds. It also acts as an inhibitor of histamine, a compound that is released during allergic reactions. As a powerful antioxidant it can neutralize harmful free radicals and it aids in neutralizing pollutants and toxins. It is thus able to prevent the formation of potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach (due to consumption of nitrite-containing foods, such as smoked meat).

A sufficient intake of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), is important as it helps the body to make collagen - an important protein in skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels and which supports the growth and repair of tissues and heals wounds. It repairs and maintains bones and teeth, synthesizes neurotransmitters and blocks some of the damage caused by free radicals by working as an antioxidant along with vitamin E, beta-carotene and many other plant-based nutrients. This damage can contribute to the aging process and the development of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.


Low levels of vitamin C have been associated with a number of cardiovascular disorders, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and atherosclerosis, as well as some cancers.

Beyond the mentioned, vitamin C deficiency can have the following effects: Fatigue, lassitude, irritability, feeling run down, loss of appetite, low resistance to infection, drowsiness and insomnia.

A sufficient vitamin C intake may help reduce the risk of developing some of these conditions. Although serious deficiencies are rare in industrialized countries, some evidence suggests that many people may be mildly deficient in vitamin C.

Smoking cigarettes lowers the amount of vitamin C in the body, so smokers are more at risk of deficiency.

Signs of vitamin deficiency include dry and splitting hair, inflammation of the gums, bleeding gums, rough, dry, scaly skin, decreased wound-healing rate, easy bruising, nosebleeds, and a decreased ability to ward off infection.

A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy.


The recommended daily intake of vitamin C varies according to age, sex, risk group cigarette smokers, alcohol users, institutionalized elderly (and subjects on certain drugs), as well as criteria applied in individual countries. The recommended dietary allowances for vitamin C in the USA were recently revised upwards to 90 mg/day for men and 75 mg/day for women based on pharmacokinetic data. For smokers, these recommended dietary allowances for vitamin C are increased by an additional 35 mg/day and higher amounts are recommended for pregnant (and lactating women (85 mg/day and 120 mg/day respectively). RDAs are in a similar range in other countries. Recent evidence sets the estimate for maintaining optimal health at around 100 mg per day.


Although as much as 6-10 g vitamin C per day (more than 100 times the RDA) has been ingested regularly by many people, there is no evidence of side effects from large doses and there is no reliable scientific evidence that large amounts of vitamin C (up to 10 grams/day in adults) are toxic. In the year 2000, the US Food and Nutrition Board recommended a tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin C of two grams daily in order to prevent most adults from several health and safety issues, such as experiencing osmotic diarrhea and gastrointestinal disturbances.


Supplements and Food Fortification

Vitamin C is used in human nutritional health. It is offered in the form of conventional tablets, effervescent and chewable tablets, time-release tablets, syrups, powders, granules, capsules, drops and ampoules, either alone or in multivitamin-mineral preparations. A number of fruit juices, fruit flavor drinks, and breakfast cereals are enriched with vitamin C (a process known as food fortification).

Food technological uses and applications

The chemical properties of ascorbic acid provide a wide range of industrial applications. The uses of ascorbic acid or vitamin C depend on its chemical properties as an antioxidant or on its health-related properties. About one-third of total production is used for vitamin preparations in the pharmaceutical industry (vitamin C). The rest is mainly applied as an additive to food and feed to enhance product quality and stability (ascorbic acid). This means that ascorbic acid added to foodstuffs during processing or before packing protects color, aroma and nutrient content. This use of ascorbic acid does not depend on its vitamin action. In meat processing, ascorbic acid makes it possible to reduce both the amount of added nitrite and the residual nitrite content in the product, plus preserve the color of the meat product. The addition of ascorbic acid to fresh wheat flour improves its baking qualities, thus saving the 4 to 8 weeks of maturation that flour would normally need after milling. Crucial in the baking context is the dough-strengthening effect of ascorbic acid in order to prevent the collapse of the dough during fermentation and baking steps.

Ascorbic acid and related product forms are mainly used for the following physiological functions (as a nutrient) in the food industry and as pure substance and in blends (for premixes):

  • Antioxidant in aqueous systems (ascorbic acid and ascorbates)
  • Retardation of oxidative rancidity for fats and oils (ascorbyl palmitate)
  • Curing agent in meat processing to inhibit nitrosamine formation (ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate)
  • Improvement of wheat-flour and dough quality for bread baking (ascorbic acid only).
  • Protection from enzymatic browning in processed fruits and vegetables
  • Increased clarity of wine and beer.

With Quali®-C, DSM offers the most complete range of pure vitamin C crystals and product forms worldwide to fulfill all application needs in the food, beverage and dietary supplement industry - with maximum product performance and safety.


Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, light and oxygen. In food it can be partly or completely destroyed by long storage or overcooking, though through refrigeration, this loss can be substantially diminished.

The Quali®-C brand

Quali-C logo

DSM’s Quali®-C is produced in Dalry, Scotland (UK). Quali®-C was the first vitamin manufacturing plant and first vitamin to be awarded the Carbon Trust certification.