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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jul;70(1):49-52.

Serum vitamin C concentrations and diabetes: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994.

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Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



Previous studies suggested that diabetes mellitus may lower serum vitamin C concentrations, but most of these studies used clinic-based populations with established diabetes of varying duration and did not adjust for important covariates.


Using a population-based sample and adjusting for important covariates, we asked whether serum vitamin C concentrations in persons with newly diagnosed diabetes differed from those in persons without diabetes.


Data were obtained from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994). Serum vitamin C was assayed by using reversed-phase HPLC with multiwavelength detection. Diabetes status (n = 237 persons with diabetes; n = 1803 persons without diabetes) was determined by oral-glucose-tolerance testing of the sample aged 40-74 y.


After adjustment for age and sex, mean serum vitamin C concentrations were significantly lower in persons with newly diagnosed diabetes than in those without diabetes. After adjustment for dietary intake of vitamin C and other important covariates, however, mean concentrations did not differ according to diabetes status.


When assessing serum vitamin C concentrations by diabetes status in the future, researchers should measure and account for all factors that influence serum vitamin C concentrations.

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