Plasma Ascorbic Acid Concentrations in Prevalent Patients With End-Stage Renal Disease on Hemodialysis

Published:November 06, 2014DOI:


      To determine the prevalence of vitamin C (ascorbic acid [AA]) deficiency in patients with end-stage renal disease, the effect of supplemental AA on plasma AA concentrations, and the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that affect plasma AA concentrations in this patient population.


      In study 1, we compared the effect of hemodialysis (HD) on plasma AA concentrations between patients with low and high pre-HD AA concentrations. In study 2, we analyzed kinetic and nonkinetic factors for their association with increased plasma AA concentrations in patients on maintenance HD. Study 1 was performed in a single outpatient HD clinic in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Study 2 was performed in 4 outpatient HD clinics in Southern New Jersey.

      Subjects and Intervention

      In study 1, we collected plasma samples from 8 adult patients on maintenance HD at various time points around their HD treatment and assayed them for AA concentration. In study 2, we enrolled 203 adult patients and measured pre-HD plasma AA concentrations. We ascertained supplemental AA use and assessed dietary AA intake.

      Main Outcome Measure

      In study 1, plasma AA concentrations were compared during the intradialytic and interdialytic period. In study 2, pre-HD plasma AA concentrations were correlated with supplement use and demographic factors.


      Study 1 showed that over the course of a single HD treatment, the plasma AA concentration decreased by a mean (±standard deviation) of 60% (±6.6). In study 2, the median pre-HD plasma AA concentration was 15.7 μM (interquartile range, 8.7-66.8) in patients who did not take a supplement and 50.6 μM (interquartile range, 25.1-88.8) in patients who did take a supplement (P < .001). Supplement use, increasing age, and diabetes mellitus were associated with a pre-HD plasma AA concentration ≥30 μM.


      HD depletes plasma AA concentrations, and AA supplementation allows patients to achieve higher plasma AA concentrations.
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