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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Nov;66(5):1165-71.

Pharmacokinetic perspectives on megadoses of ascorbic acid.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.


Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is commonly used as a dietary supplement, often in megadoses. However, as the daily oral dose is increased, the concentration of ascorbic acid in the plasma and other body fluids does not increase proportionally, but instead tends to approach an upper limit. For example, when the daily dose is increased from 200 to 2500 mg (from 1.1 to 14.2 mmol) the mean steady state plasma concentration increases only from approximately 12 to 15 mg/L (from 68.1 to 85.2 mumol/L). Published data were reanalyzed with an integrated modeling approach to shed new quantitative light on this phenomenon. This analysis is based on the renal clearance of ascorbic acid, which rises sharply with increasing plasma concentrations as a result of saturable tubular reabsorption. The analysis indicates that both saturable gastrointestinal absorption and nonlinear renal clearance act additively to produce the ceiling effect in plasma concentrations. As a consequence of this ceiling effect, there is no pharmacokinetic justification for the use of megadoses of ascorbic acid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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