Effects of plasma ascorbic acid levels on heat acclimatization in man

J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1977 May;42(5):711-6. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1977.42.5.711.


Thirteen male volunteers were heat acclimatized for 4 h/day for 10 consecutive days. Three to four hours before each heat exposure, four of the subjects received an oral dose of 250 ascorbic acid, five received 500 mg ascorbic acid, and the remaining four a placebo. Rectal temperature, heart rate, and sweat rate were measured hourly during exposure. Venous blood samples were collected before each administration of drug or placebo. On days 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, and 10, blood samples were also collected just prior to heat exposure and after two and four hours of exposure. In the subjects receiving ascorbic acid, total circulating plasma ascorbic acid increased over the first three or four days to a plateau level some fourfold higher than in the subjects receiving the placebo. The plateau level was the same in the subjects receiving 250 mg and 500 mg ascorbic acid. The increased ascorbic acid concentration was shown to be associated with a reduction in total sweat output, independent of rectal temperature, and a reduction in rectal temperature, independent of total sweat output. The results indicate that ascorbic acid may be effective in reducing heat strain in unacclimatized individuals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / drug effects*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Body Temperature
  • Heart Rate
  • Hematocrit
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Plasma Volume
  • Sweating / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Ascorbic Acid