Helicobacter pylori infection reduces systemic availability of dietary vitamin C

Mark Woodward, Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe, Kenneth McColl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Helicobacter pylori infection is recognized to lower the concentration of vitamin C in gastric juice. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of the infection on the systemic availability of dietary vitamin C. Methods The study involved 1106 men and women aged 25-74 randomly recruited from the population of north Glasgow. Their H. pylori status, dietary vitamin C intake calculated from a food frequency questionnaire and plasma vitamin C concentration were measured. Correction was made for potential confounding factors such as age, sex, smoking and social status. Results The mean plasma vitamin C concentration in those who were H. pylori- positive was only 65% of that in those classified negative. Although partly explained by differences in age, sex, social class, smoking and vitamin C intake, the systemic reduction was observed across almost all sub-groups after stratification. Correction for all these factors still gave a plasma vitamin C level for H. pylori positives which was only 80% of that for negatives (P < 0.0001). Conclusions H. pylori substantially impairs the bio-availability of vitamin C. This, together with the reduced vitamin C intake of H. pylori-positive subjects, markedly reduces the plasma vitamin C level of infected subjects. The reduced circulating levels of vitamin C in H. pylori-infected subjects may contribute to the aetiology of gastric cancer, as well as other diseases associated with anti-oxidant deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-237
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Bioavailability
  • Diet
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Vitamin C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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