Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Vitamin C pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers: evidence for a recommended dietary allowance

PainSci » bibliography » Levine et al 1996
Tags: nutrition, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Levine 1996: The Complete Guide to Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain

PainSci commentary on Levine 1996: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This is a rare example of a direct test of how much vitamin C can be absorbed and how much is needed to address deficiency. It was an in-hospital depletion-repletion trial of 7 patients who were given a very low vitamin C diet until they were deficient, and then they were given vitamin C supplementation and closely monitored. Basically the data show that doses from about 100 to 1000 are safe and efficacious, with the body able to use of almost everything up to about 200mg, but then rapidly diminishing returns past 400mg/day, and at 1000mg almost everything is being excreted. They concluded that the recommended daily amount of 60 mg (at that time, now only a little higher) should be 200mg, and doses above 400 “appear to have no value.”

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Determinants of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C include the relationship between vitamin C dose and steady-state plasma concentration, bioavailability, urinary excretion, cell concentration, and potential adverse effects. Because current data are inadequate, an in-hospital depletion-repletion study was conducted. Seven healthy volunteers were hospitalized for 4-6 months and consumed a diet containing <5 mg of vitamin C daily. Steady-state plasma and tissue concentrations were determined at seven daily doses of vitamin C from 30 to 2500 mg. Vitamin C steady-state plasma concentrations as a function of dose displayed sigmoid kinetics. The steep portion of the curve occurred between the 30- and 100-mg daily dose, the current RDA of 60 mg daily was on the lower third of the curve, the first dose beyond the sigmoid portion of the curve was 200 mg daily, and complete plasma saturation occurred at 1000 mg daily. Neutrophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes saturated at 100 mg daily and contained concentrations at least 14-fold higher than plasma. Bioavailability was complete for 200 mg of vitamin C as a single dose. No vitamin C was excreted in urine of six of seven volunteers until the 100-mg dose. At single doses of 500 mg and higher, bioavailability declined and the absorbed amount was excreted. Oxalate and urate excretion were elevated at 1000 mg of vitamin C daily compared to lower doses. Based on these data and Institute of Medicine criteria, the current RDA of 60 mg daily should be increased to 200 mg daily, which can be obtained from fruits and vegetables. Safe doses of vitamin C are less than 1000 mg daily, and vitamin C daily doses above 400 mg have no evident value.

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: