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Rationale and impact of vitamin C in clinical nutrition. *

Purpose of review: The impact of vitamin C on oxidative stress-related diseases is moderate because of its limited oral bioavailability and rapid clearance. Parenteral administration can increase the benefit of vitamin C supplementation as is evident in critically ill patients. The aim here is to assess recent evidence of the clinical benefit and underlying effects of parenteral vitamin C in conditions of oxidative stress.

Recent findings: In critically ill patients and after severe burns, the rapid restoration of depleted ascorbate levels with high-dose parenteral vitamin C may reduce circulatory shock, fluid requirements and oedema.

Summary: Oxidative stress is associated with reduced ascorbate levels. Ascorbate is particularly effective in protecting the vascular endothelium, which is especially vulnerable to oxidative stress. The restoration of ascorbate levels may have therapeutic effects in diseases involving oxidative stress. The rapid replenishment of ascorbate is of special clinical significance in critically ill patients who experience drastic reductions in ascorbate levels, which may be a causal factor in the development of circulatory shock. Supraphysiological levels of ascorbate, which can only be achieved by the parenteral and not by the oral administration of vitamin C, may facilitate the restoration of vascular function in the critically ill patient.

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THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 11-03-2008
Authors: McGregor, Gerard P a; Biesalski, Hans K b
Source: Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. 9(6),:697-703, November 2006.