Vitamin C could lower body fat levels
Increasing intake of vitamin C improves the body’s ability to oxidise fat and can reduce fatigue, said US researchers at this week’s Experimental Biology 2006 (April) in San Francisco.
Lead researcher, Professor Carol Johnson, said: “This is all important because about 30 per cent of Americans have poor vitamin C status as indicated by blood vitamin C concentrations.”
Bonnie Beezhold and Professor Johnston from Arizona State University presented the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 20 obese men and women on a low-fat diet. One group’s diet was supplemented with a 500 mg vitamin C capsule, while the other group received an identical-looking placebo.
The diet was formulated to provide 67 percent of the US RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin C.
At the beginning of the trial, volunteers with the lowest serum concentrations of vitamin C were found to have the highest body fat mass.
After four weeks, the supplemented group had increased serum concentrations of vitamin C of 30 per cent, while the control (placebo) group’s blood levels decreased by 27 per cent.
As vitamin C blood concentrations fell, so did the participants' ability to oxidise fat (an 11 per cent reduction). Interestingly, both groups lost the same amount of weight (4.1 kg, 9 lbs). While body fat mass decreased more in the vitamin C supplemented group, the difference was not statistically significant.
The study supported earlier findings by Professor Johnston of a decrease in fat oxidation, and the researchers are now studying whether the impact of vitamin C status is associated with a gradual gain in body fat in non-dieting individuals.
The mechanism behind the vitamin C effect is linked to its essential role in the synthesis of carnitine, an amino acid responsible for the transport of fatty acids.
“Carnitine is important for fat oxidation - and the reduced ability to oxidise fat creates fatigue and possibly retention of body fat,”
“Since fatigue is the earliest sign of a vitamin C deficiency, I am particularly interested in documenting this fatigue and whether it has a significant impact in metabolism,” says Prof Johnston.
ARG Vitamin C as recommended by the Diet Doctors provides 2 grams per teaspoon, as well as magnesium, calcium and potassium.