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J Nutr. 1999 Jun;129(6):1229-32.

Decreasing ascorbate intake does not affect the levels of glutathione, tocopherol or retinol in the ascorbate-requiring osteogenic disorder shionogi rats.

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Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Levels of glutathione in liver and kidney, and other nutrients in plasma were evaluated in male and female ascorbate-requiring osteogenic disorder Shionogi (ODS) rats fed semipurified diets in which the concentrations of ascorbate were gradually decreased from 1965 to 180 mg/kg. Plasma ascorbate levels in ODS rats were unaffected when ascorbate levels in the diet were decreased from 1965 to 768 mg/kg. However, plasma ascorbate levels decreased progressively when levels of ascorbate in the diet were decreased from 527 to 180 mg/kg. Plasma ascorbate levels decreased up to 77% when the dietary ascorbate concentration decreased from 1965 to 180 mg/kg. Ascorbate levels in liver and kidney fell as much as 60-70% when the dietary ascorbate levels were reduced from 1965 to 180 mg/kg. However, the glutathione levels in these tissues were not affected. Plasma retinol and vitamin E levels were not affected by decreasing dietary ascorbate intake. Total cholesterol levels increased significantly in female rats as dietary ascorbate intake declined. Levels of glycated hemoglobin decreased significantly when dietary ascorbate levels decreased from 1965 to 527 mg/kg. This study suggests that levels of vitamin E, retinol and glutathione are not affected by decreased dietary intake of ascorbate under nonscorbutic conditions, whereas elevated ascorbate intake is associated with a decrease in levels of plasma cholesterol in female ODS rats. However, excessive intake of ascorbate may be associated with elevated glycation of hemoglobin. To achieve the maximal health benefit of ascorbate supplementation, further studies are necessary to define optimal ascorbate intakes.

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