Urinary Excretion of Vitamin C and Saturation Testing

Urinary excretion of ascorbate falls to undetectably low levels in deficiency; therefore, very low excretion will indicate deficiency. However, no guidelines for the interpretation of urinary ascorbate have been established, and basal urinary excretion of ascorbate is rarely used in the assessment of status. During depletion/repletion studies, urinary excretion increases before tissue saturation has been achieved (Sauberlich, 1975).

It is relatively easy to assess the state of body reserves of vitamin C by measuring the excretion after a test dose. A subject whose reserves are saturated will excrete the whole of a test dose of500 mg of ascorbate over 6 hours. A more precise method involves repeating the loading test daily until complete excretion is achieved, thus giving an indication of how depleted the body stores were.

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