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Potential Toxicity of Vitamin C Supplements: An In Vitro and In Vivo Comparison Assessed by Genotoxicity and Gene-Expression Profiling

University of London - King's College
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This research project aims to evaluate the potential toxicity of vitamin C supplements in a large number of human volunteers at high doses.

A major part of this project will involve establishing assays for routine analysis of intracellular vitamin C and markers of DNA damage.

Prior to carrying out a dosing study in human volunteers, the toxicity of vitamin C will be established in cultured cells and gene expression studied.

Candidate genes selected through consensus expression will be confirmed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and functionally assessed by 2D electrophoresis, immunoblotting and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Candidate genes will be investigated by limited proteomic analysis.

This project aims to evaluate the potential toxicity of vitamin C supplements in human volunteers at widely used doses.

More information
Vitamin C is a well known antioxidant which has been linked by epidemiological studies to prevention of cardiovascular disorders and cancer.

Moderate doses of vitamin C obtained via a well balanced diet can be beneficial, however some people take high doses of supplements in the belief that 'the more you take the healthier you'll be'.

Over the last few years research has suggested that large doses may be harmful and have the potential to cause DNA damage.

Due to a move by the project leader to King's College London, the contract for this project has been transferred from the University of Leicester to King's College London. The recruitment of volunteers for the study is still being carried out at Leicester.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
Natural Toxins
Chemical Contaminants