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Vitamin C and exposure to alcohol.


The relationship between the leucocyte ascorbic acid level and exposure to ethanol has been investigated in a group of patients with alcohol-related illness, and compared with indices of deficiency of other water-soluble vitamins B1 and B2. The degree of exposure to alcohol has been assessed by measurement of the serum activity of gamma-glutamyl transferase (gamma-GT, E.C. and by assigning the patients to three groups according to the severity of the alcohol-induced damage (group 1 - with cirrhosis, group 2 - with extensive liver cell damage, group 3 - without extensive liver cell damage). The mean leucocyte ascorbic acid level of the alcoholic group as a whole was significantly lower than that of a control group, but the means of the three groups did not differ significantly between themselves. There was poor correlation between the gamma-GT activity and the leucocyte ascorbic acid level in all three alcoholic groups, suggesting that even in the face of extensive alcohol abuse, reasonable stores of ascorbic acid may still be maintained. The relative deficiencies of the reasons briefly discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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