Vitamin C infusion treatment enhances cortisol production of the adrenal via the pituitary ACTH route

In Vivo. 1994 Nov-Dec;8(6):1079-85.


The present study is an extension of our past study on the clinical use of vitamin C infusion or injection treatment in autoimmune disease and allergy which suggests that the intravenous introduction of vitamin C may enhance the activity of the endogenous cortisol in such a way as to allow clinical control of immune disorders. This time, we investigated the relation between ACTH, cortisol and vitamin C in plasma in the course of vitamin C infusion or injection treatment with and without the use of methyl-prednisolone annex, a suppressor of the homeostatic mechanism of the pituitary ACTH. A total of 4 experiments were conducted using a healthy male volunteer. Results obtained are as follows: 1) the practice of the steroid-free vitamin C infusion treatment induced a) distinct depletion of both cortisol and vitamin C from the circulation at the initial to moderate stages of the experiment, b) a small surge of plasma cortisol at the middle stage, and c) skyrocket-like rises of ACTH and cortisol of plasma at the terminal stage. 2) The use of methylprednisolone annex in the vitamin C infusion set completely suppressed the emergence of the plasma ACTH/cortisol surges of the terminal stage, but not the small surge of plasma cortisol. The synthetic steroid also suppressed the depletion of vitamin C and cortisol of the initial to moderate stages. 3) The terminal ACTH/cortisol surges of plasma were less distinct in the vitamin C infection experiment than in the vitamin C infusion experiment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / drug effects*
  • Adrenal Glands / metabolism
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / pharmacology
  • Pituitary Gland / drug effects*


  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone