Peripheral Vitamin C Levels in Alzheimer's Disease: A Cross-Sectional Study

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2016;62(6):432-436. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.62.432.


We previously reported lower lymphocyte vitamin C levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus and in individuals with severe Parkinson's disease. Oxidative stress has been proposed to play a key role in the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the association between peripheral levels of vitamin C and the progression of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. Fifty individuals with Alzheimer's disease being treated at Shizuoka General Hospital were consecutively enrolled in this study from December 2009 to March 2015 (76.0±9.7 y of age [mean±SD]; 32 men and 18 women; Mini-Mental State Examination Japanese version (MMSE-J) score range, 8-27). Plasma and lymphocyte vitamin C levels in fasting blood samples were measured. The association between the MMSE-J scores and vitamin C levels was estimated using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (ρ) and the criteria defined by Swinscow. Spearman's ρ for the relationship between peripheral vitamin C levels and the MMSE-J score was ρ=0.17 for plasma vitamin C and ρ=0.26 for lymphocyte vitamin C. Thus, the associations were relatively weak based on the criteria. In contrast with type 2 diabetes mellitus and Parkinson's disease, lymphocyte vitamin C levels in the peripheral blood may not directly reflect the progression of cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. Additional longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the clinical importance of changes of peripheral vitamin C status in Alzheimer's disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood*
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects


  • Ascorbic Acid