Ascorbic acid lowers central blood pressure and asymmetric dimethylarginine in chronic kidney disease

Clin Kidney J. 2018 Aug;11(4):532-539. doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfx158. Epub 2018 Feb 6.


Background: Premature cardiovascular disease in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not explained by traditional risk factors and oxidative stress may contribute via endothelial and vascular dysfunction. We investigated the effect of ascorbic acid on oxidative stress and vascular function in CKD patients compared with controls with hypertension (HTN).

Methods: A crossover study of intravenous saline and ascorbic acid was conducted. Biomarkers of oxidative stress were measured, while pulse wave analysis and brachial flow-mediated dilatation were performed to assess large artery and endothelial function.

Results: Twenty HTN and 30 CKD patients Stages 3-5 were recruited. Serum ascorbic acid was significantly lower in patients with CKD. In both groups, ascorbic acid significantly increased total antioxidant potential and superoxide. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) was reduced significantly by ascorbic acid in the CKD group and on multivariate regression analysis, age and the presence of CKD were predictors of ADMA response to ascorbic acid. Although no effect on FMD was observed, central blood pressure and augmentation index were reduced significantly in both groups.

Conclusions: Ascorbic acid has pro- and antioxidant effects, reducing central blood pressure and augmentation index in HTN and CKD. Ascorbic acid reduces serum ADMA in CKD, which may have longer-term benefits.

Keywords: antioxidants; arterial stiffness; chronic kidney disease; endothelial dysfunction; oxidative stress.