Correction of anemia and iron deficiency in vegetarians by administration of ascorbic acid

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1995 Oct;39(4):403-6.


Twenty-eight strict vegetarians were given 500 mg ascorbic acid twice daily after lunch and dinner for two months. Hemoglobin and certain iron status parameters were measured before and after the treatment. Ascorbate treatment increased mean hemoglobin by 8%, serum iron by 17% and transferrin saturation by 23% and decreased total iron binding capacity by 7%. All these changes were statistically significant. The rise in serum ferritin was 12%. The serum protein or copper level did not indicate their dietary deficiency, while initial serum ascorbate level were low which rose by 60% on therapy. It is concluded that ascorbate supplementation is a better method of improving hematologic and iron status than iron salt administration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / drug therapy*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Hemoglobins
  • Ferritins
  • Iron
  • Ascorbic Acid