Growing evidence suggests that vitamin C supplementation may be an effective adjunct therapy in the management of people with diabetes. This paper critically reviews the current evidence on effects of vitamin C supplementation and its potential mechanisms in diabetes management. Evidence from meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) show favourable effects of vitamin C on glycaemic control and blood pressure that may be clinically meaningful, and mixed effects on blood lipids and endothelial function. However, evidence is mostly of low evidence certainty. Emerging evidence is promising for effects of vitamin C supplementation on some diabetes complications, particularly diabetic foot ulcers. However, there is a notable lack of robust and well-designed studies exploring effects of vitamin C as a single compound supplement on diabetes prevention and patient-important outcomes (i.e. prevention and amelioration of diabetes complications). RCTs are also required to investigate potential preventative or ameliorative effects of vitamin C on gestational diabetes outcomes. Oral vitamin C doses of 500-1000 mg per day are potentially effective, safe, and affordable for many individuals with diabetes. However, personalisation of supplementation regimens that consider factors such as vitamin C status, disease status, current glycaemic control, vitamin C intake, redox status, and genotype is important to optimize vitamin C's therapeutic effects safely. Finally, given a high prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in patients with complications, it is recommended that plasma vitamin C concentration be measured and monitored in the clinic setting.
Keywords: Ascorbic acid; Cardiovascular disease; Complications; Diabetes mellitus; Gestational diabetes; Glycaemic control; Supplementation; Type 2 diabetes; Vitamin C.
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