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Ascorbyl Palmitate acts synergistically with other antioxidants such as vitamin E. Its antioxidant activity is proportional to its use level, even when exceeding its solubility. There is no restriction on the use level of ascorbyl palmitate as a food preservative. Other antioxidants are limited to .02% of the fat content.
Ascorbyl palmitate is an amphipathic molecule, meaning one end is water-soluble and the other end is fat-soluble. This dual solubility allows ascorbyl palmitate to be incorporated into cell membranes. When incorporated into the cell membranes of human red blood cells, ascorbyl palmitate has been found to protect them from oxidative damage and to protect alpha-tocopherol (a fat-soluble antioxidant) from oxidation by free radicals. However, the protective effects of ascorbyl palmitate on cell membranes have only been demonstrated in the test tube. Taking ascorbyl palmitate orally probably doesn't result in any significant incorporation into cell membranes because most of it appears to be hydrolyzed (broken apart into palmitate and ascorbic acid) in the human digestive tract before it is absorbed. The ascorbic acid released by the hydrolysis of ascorbyl palmitate appears to be as bioavailable as ascorbic acid alone. The presence of ascorbyl palmitate in oral supplements contributes to the ascorbic acid content of the supplement and probably helps protect fat-soluble antioxidants in the supplement. The roles of vitamin C in promoting collagen synthesis and as an antioxidant have generated interest in its use on the skin. Ascorbyl palmitate is frequently used in topical preparations because it is more stable than some aqueous (water-soluble) forms of vitamin C. Ascorbyl palmitate is also marketed as, "vitamin C ester," which should not be confused with Ester-C®.
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