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Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;78(3):454-60.

Effect of orange juice intake on vitamin C concentrations and biomarkers of antioxidant status in humans.

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  • 1Nutrition and Neurocognitive Laboratory, Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



Consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with improved health and a decreased prevalence of chronic degenerative processes.


The objectives were to assess the bioavailability of vitamin C from orange juice and its influence on plasma vitamin C and 8-epi-prostaglandin F(2 alpha) (8-epi-PGF(2 alpha)) concentrations in a healthy human population.


Six men and 6 women consumed 500 mL commercial fresh-squeezed orange juice/d for 14 d, corresponding to an intake of 250 mg ascorbic acid/d. On the first day of the study, the subjects drank the juice in one dose (dose-response study), and on days 2-14 they consumed 250 mL in the morning and 250 mL in the afternoon. Blood was collected every hour for 6 h on the first day and again on days 7 and 14.


Baseline plasma vitamin C concentrations were significantly higher (P = 0.03) among the women than among the men (56.4 +/- 4.4 compared with 44.3 +/- 3.5 micromol/L). In the dose-response study, the maximum increase in plasma vitamin C occurred 3 h postdose in both the men and the women. Vitamin C concentrations remained significantly higher on days 7 and 14 than at baseline. Baseline concentrations of 8-epi-PGF(2 alpha) were significantly higher (P = 0.03) among the men than among the women (249.6 +/- 25.4 compared with 177.7 +/- 6.2 pg/mL) but decreased significantly (P = 0.04) by day 14 of the intervention. A significant inverse correlation was observed between vitamin C and 8-epi-PGF(2 alpha) (r = -0.791, P = 0.0022). Among smokers, baseline vitamin C was lower and 8-epi-PGF(2 alpha) higher than among nonsmokers.


Drinking orange juice (500 mL/d) increases plasma concentrations of vitamin C and reduces concentrations of 8-epi-PGF(2 alpha) in humans. These effects were significantly more pronounced in smokers.

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