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J Am Coll Nutr. 1990 Apr;9(2):150-4.

Effect of a single oral dose of ascorbic acid on body temperature and trace mineral fluxes in healthy men and women.

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Department of Family Resources and Human Development, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287.


Several metabolic changes characteristic of the acute-phase response were examined in healthy men and women following a single 1 g dose of ascorbic acid. Utilizing a placebo-controlled, double-blind protocol, oral body temperatures were recorded in rested, fasted subjects (0900 hr) prior to the consumption of 1 g L-ascorbic acid or placebo (n = 10/group). Temperatures were recorded hourly for the next 8 hours, and again the next morning in the rested, fasted state (0900 hr). Blood samples, collected at 0, 4, and 24 hours post-dose, were analyzed for plasma ascorbate, iron, and zinc. Mean oral body temperature was significantly elevated 2 hours post-dose in the experimental subjects compared to controls (+0.7 degrees F, p = 0.03). In the vitamin-dosed subjects, mean plasma ascorbate rose 32% over the control value after 4 hours (1.11 +/- 0.08 and 0.84 +/- 0.06 mg/100 ml, ns). Serum iron levels were similar in the two groups at 0 and 4 hours post-dose, but at 24 hours post-dose mean serum iron of the vitamin-dosed subjects fell to 73% of that recorded for the control subjects (77 +/- 8 and 105 +/- 10 micrograms/100 ml, p = 0.04). Plasma zinc levels were similar for both groups at 0, 4, and 24 hours post-dose. These data indicate that ascorbate administration, at a level commonly supplemented in the US diet, elicits several host metabolic responses similar to those observed following exposure to infectious or inflammatory agents. These metabolic changes are most likely due to the reducing potential of the vitamin and may factor in the reported prophylactic success of vitamin C supplementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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