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Prev Med. 1999 Dec;29(6 Pt 1):451-4.

The effect of ascorbic acid supplementation on the nicotine metabolism of smokers.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas 77555, USA.



The relationship of serum ascorbic acid (AA) levels and excretion of nicotine metabolites was determined in 75 men who smoked at least one pack of cigarettes per day.


The subjects were randomly divided into three groups of 25 each who received a placebo, 200 mg of supplementation, or 1000 mg of supplementation of AA per day for 1 month. Baseline and weekly serum AA levels were determined and simultaneous estimates of urinary excretion of nicotine metabolites as cotinine equivalents (CE).


The group mean serum AA levels in the placebo group decreased 13% after 2 weeks; the group mean serum levels of the supplemented groups increased significantly after 1 week (P </= 0. 001) and remained elevated over 100% per week from baseline throughout the study. There was a progressive increase in urinary CE excretion in the placebo group. In the supplemented groups, group mean CE excretion decreased an average of 5% weekly in the 200-mg group and an average of 33% weekly in the 1000-mg group. Pearson's correlation between serum AA and urine CE excretion was significant (r = -0.7980, P </= 0.0003).


Body levels of AA affect the level of urinary nicotine metabolites. The results of this study indicate that dietary levels of AA are inversely correlated to urinary excretion of nicotine metabolites and may be due to suppressed: (1) nicotine intake by smokers who smoked fewer cigarettes or inhale less deeply, (2) nicotine metabolism, or (3) both.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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