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Nutr Cancer. 1998;31(2):106-10.

Effect of ascorbic acid dose taken with a meal on nitrosoproline excretion in subjects ingesting nitrate and proline.

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Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha 68198, USA.


We determined the dose of ascorbic acid (ASC) given to subjects with a standard 400-calorie meal that inhibited N-nitrosoproline (NPRO) formation when we gave 400 mg of nitrate one hour before and 500 mg of L-proline with the standard meal. Volunteers consumed their normal US diets but restricted their intakes of nitrate, proline, NPRO, and ASC. NPRO and N-nitrososarcosine (NSAR) were determined in the 18-hour urines by methylation followed by gas chromatography-thermal energy analysis. Mean NPRO yields were 10.7, 41.9, 33.2, 22.3, and 23.1 nmol for groups of 9-25 subjects taking proline alone, proline + nitrate, and proline + nitrate + 120, 240, and 480 mg of ASC, respectively. There was a significant trend to lower NPRO yields as the ASC dose was raised. These results correspond to inhibitions by ASC of 28%, 62%, and 60%, respectively. Pairwise comparison showed that each group taking ASC formed significantly less NPRO than the group given only proline + nitrate. Mean NSAR yields were 9.0 nmol when proline alone was taken and 16.9-24.0 nmol when proline + nitrate + ASC was taken, with no trend to increase as the ASC dose was raised. However, NPRO and NSAR yields in individual urines were correlated with each other. We concluded that 120 mg of ASC taken with each meal (360 mg/day) would significantly reduce in vivo nitrosamine formation, similar to tests by Leaf and co-workers (Carcinogenesis 8, 791-795, 1987) in which the reactants were taken between meals. The inhibitory dose of ASC may be < 120 mg/meal when doses of nitrate and proline are not taken.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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