Effects of different levels of vitamin C intake on the vitamin C concentration in human milk and the vitamin C intakes of breast-fed infants

Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Apr;41(4):665-71. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/41.4.665.


The influence of maternal intake of vitamin C on the vitamin C concentration in human milk and on the vitamin C intakes of breast-fed infants has not been demonstrated conclusively. This study examined these influences of diet and supplementation in 25 lactating women administered 90 mg of ascorbic acid for 1 day followed by 250, 500 or 1000 mg/day for 2 days or unsupplemented for 1 day followed by either 0 or 90 mg ascorbic acid supplement for 2 days. Vitamin C content in milk and urine was determined by the 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine method. Vitamin C intakes of infants were calculated from milk volume, as determined by the test-weighing method and from vitamin C levels in milk samples obtained at each feeding. Total maternal intakes of vitamin C, which exceeded 1000 mg/day or 10-fold the RDA for lactation (100 mg/day), did not significantly influence the vitamin C content in milk or the vitamin C intakes of infants. However, maternal vitamin C intake was positively correlated (r = 0.7) with maternal urinary excretion. These differences in milk and urine response to vitamin C intake suggest a regulatory mechanism for vitamin C levels in milk.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / urine
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Random Allocation


  • Ascorbic Acid