The acute effect of high-dose intravenous vitamin C and other nutrients on blood pressure: a cohort study

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Abstract

Background

Regular intake of vitamin C/ascorbate reduces blood pressure (BP) in hypertensives. High-dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) achieves higher plasma levels; however, there is a paucity of research on acute BP effects. Our study is the first to investigate the effect of high-dose IVC, with or without concomitant i.v. nutrients, on BP during i.v. treatment.

Methods

A cohort of adult patients scheduled to receive IVC treatment for infection, cancer or fatigue, as prescribed by their treating doctor, participated at a Melbourne clinic, Australia. Ambulatory BP was assessed every 10 min over 90 min during i.v. treatment. Patients received 15–100 g of IVC alone or in addition to i.v. vitamin B, glutathione, magnesium or zinc. BP change over time adjusted for baseline BP, IVC dosage, i.v. treatment and BMI was analysed.

Results

A total of 77 mostly normotensive patients participated, with a third receiving IVC alone (42±20 g), and two-thirds also received other i.v. nutrients. IVC alone (>30 g) reduced the mean BP up to 8–9 mmHg in prehypertensive patients. In contrast, concomitant intravenous vitamin B12 (IVB12) significantly increased the mean BP by 11–13 mmHg. Comparison of BP change during IVC versus IVC+IVB12 indicated a highly significant difference [systolic blood pressure: mean difference (SD)=16.6 (17.8) mmHg, P<0.001; diastolic blood pressure: mean difference (SD)=12.5 (16.7) mmHg, P=0.003].

Conclusion

Our study suggests an acute BP-reducing effect of high-dose IVC, particularly with dosages above 30 g, and in patients with prehypertension and normal BMI. Furthermore, our study indicated a marked and clinically relevant hypertensive effect of IVB12, suggesting routine BP monitoring during i.v. therapy in clinical practice.

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