University of Tasmania

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High-dose vitamin C supplementation increases skeletal muscle vitamin C concentration and SVCT2 transporter expression but does not alter redox status in healthy males

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 09:45 authored by Mason, SA, Baptista, R, Della Gatta, PA, Adel YousifAdel Yousif, Russell, AP, Wadley, GD
Antioxidant vitamin C (VC) supplementation is of potential clinical benefit to individuals with skeletal muscle oxidative stress. However, there is a paucity of data reporting on the bioavailability of high-dose oral VC in human skeletal muscle. We aimed to establish the time course of accumulation of VC in skeletal muscle and plasma during high-dose VC supplementation in healthy individuals. Concurrently we investigated the effects of VC supplementation on expression levels of the key skeletal muscle VC transporter sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 2 (SVCT2) and intramuscular redox and mitochondrial measures. Eight healthy males completed a randomized placebo-controlled, crossover trial involving supplementation with ascorbic acid (2 × 500 mg/day) over 42 days. Participants underwent muscle and blood sampling on days 0, 1, 7, and 42 during each treatment. VC supplementation significantly increased skeletal muscle VC concentration after 7 days, which was maintained at 42 days (VC 3.0 ± 0.2 (mean ± SEM) to 3.9 ± 0.4 mg/100 g wet weight (ww) versus placebo 3.1 ± 0.3 to 2.9 ± 0.2 mg/100 g ww, p = 0.001). Plasma VC increased after 1 day, which was maintained at 42 days (VC 61.0 ± 6.1 to 111.5 ± 10.4 µmol/L versus placebo 60.7 ± 5.3 to 59.2 ± 4.8 µmol/L, p < 0.001). VC supplementation significantly increased skeletal muscle SVCT2 protein expression (main treatment effect p = 0.006) but did not alter skeletal muscle redox measures or citrate synthase activity. A main finding of our study was that 7 days of high-dose VC supplementation was required to significantly increase skeletal muscle vitamin C concentration in healthy males. Our findings implicate regular high-dose vitamin C supplementation as a means to safely increase skeletal muscle vitamin C concentration without impairing intramuscular ascorbic acid transport, antioxidant concentrations, or citrate synthase activity.


Publication title

Free Radical Biology and Medicine








Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

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The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Ox5 1Gb

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Copyright 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified; Health protection and disaster response