Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) – Broiler nutrition

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) – Broiler nutrition

Ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid, commonly called vitamin C, refers to compounds that exhibit L-ascorbic acid activity and is part of the group of water-soluble vitamins. Like other water-soluble vitamins, they cannot be stored. Its absorption is also limited when in excessive amounts. This nutrient has several activities in the body, among some of them are:

  • Co – enzymatic factor acting in various reactions;
  • Important for collagen biosynthesis;
  • Synthesis and metabolism of neurotransmitters;
  • Maintenance of mucosa and vessel walls;
  • Control of circulating corticosteroid levels;
  • Above all, it is a strong reducing agent, being easily oxidized in a reversible reaction.

Vitamin C and heat stress

Chickens are part of the group of animals capable of synthesizing vitamin c for normal growth and development. However, certain stressful conditions such as heat or cold outside the thermal comfort range and infections can deplete and limit its endogenous production. Therefore, making room for the opposite of their important activities mentioned above.

Despite the ambiance being one of the most studied areas in poultry farming, knowing how to manipulate diets with a focus on the animal’s thermal comfort, thinking about cost reduction, or profit maximization is vital.

Therefore, in situations of possible stress or prevention, the supplementation of ascorbic acid in drinking water or feed can alleviate and delay possible vitaminosis. This is mainly due to the control of corticosteroids, which are responsible for protein degradation and lymphoid cell death.

Oxidative stress resulting from high temperatures and other factors leads broilers to biological damage, pathological conditions, and a drop in productivity. Due to its antioxidant power and its solubility in aqueous solutions, ascorbic acid can directly eliminate free radicals or inhibit their formation quickly, avoiding oxidative stress.

Technical results

Son et al. (2019), evaluating the effect of supplementation of vitamins C and E in the feed on different parameters of broiler chickens subjected to a stressful environment with high temperatures. It concludes that the supplementation of Vitamin C and E eased the challenges imposed on the chickens, contributing to better zootechnical performance.

Assis (2017), in a systematic review, answers the following question: “What are the effects of supplementation with vitamins C and E in the feed of broiler chickens subjected to heat stress conditions?” According to the literature on the subject, the supplementation of broiler feed with vitamins C and E was able to attenuate the effects of heat stress on the lipid peroxidation of meat in chickens submitted to heat stress.

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FILHO, J.A.A. et al. Vitamina C e E na alimentação de frangos de corte industrial criados em ambiente com desafio permanente na Amazônia Ocidental. Arq. Ciênc. Vet. Zool. UNIPAR, Umuarama, v. 22, n. 2, p. 43-51, abr./jun. 2019.

ASSIS, J.V. Efeitos da suplementação com vitaminas C e E em rações para frangos de corte submetidos ao estresse térmico. UNESP, ARAÇATUBA – SP, 2017.


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