An overview is presented of aspects of the coordination chemistry of Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) and up-to-date information about the structures and properties of a selection of ascorbate complexes covering the literature from the first synthetic reports which emerged about two decades ago. After a brief introduction concerning the ligand characteristics of ascorbic acid, the review includes pure complexes with transition metals with special attention to the recently described polynuclear complexes, complexes with rare earth metals and mixed ligand complexes. Finally, a section is devoted to the biomedical importance of the complexes. The highlights in these topical areas are briefly discussed. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.