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Vitamin C in Plasma and Leucocytes in Relation to Periodontitis

Vitamin C is water-soluble, and probably the most famous of all the vitamins. Even before its discovery in 1932, physicians recognised that there must be a compound in citrus fruits preventing scurvy, a disease that killed as many as 2 million sailors between 1500 and 1800. Later researchers discovered that man, other primates and the guinea pig depend on external sources to cover their Vitamin C requirements. Most other animals are able to synthesise Vitamin C from glucose and galactose in their body. The most prominent role of Vitamin C is its immune stimulating effect, which is important for the defence against infections such as common colds. It also acts as an inhibitor of histamine, a compound that is released during allergic reactions. As a powerful antioxidant it can neutralise harmful free radicals and aids in neutralising pollutants and toxins.

Kuzmanova D, Jansen ID, Schoenmaker T, Nazmi K, Teeuw WJ, Bizzarro S, Loos BG, van der Velden U. Vitamin C in plasma and leucocytes in relation to Periodontitis. 1. J Clin Periodontol. 2012 Jun 24. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2012.01927.x. [Epub ahead of print]

AIM: To test the hypothesis that Vitamin C concentrations in plasma, polymorphonuclear neutrophilic leucocytes (PMNs) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are lower in Periodontitis patients compared with healthy controls. METHODS: Twenty-one untreated periodontal patients and 21 healthy controls matched for age, gender, race and smoking habits were selected. Dietary Vitamin C intake was assessed by a self-administered dietary record. Fasting blood samples were obtained and analysed for Vitamin C concentrations in plasma, PMNs and PBMCs by means of high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). RESULTS: Plasma Vitamin C was lower in Periodontitis patients compared with controls (8.3 and 11.3?mg/l, respectively, p?=?0.03). Only in the control group a positive correlation was present between Vitamin C intake and plasma values. No differences could be assessed between patients and controls regarding Vitamin C dietary intake and levels in PMNs and PBMCs. In the patient group, pocket depth appeared to be negatively associated with the Vitamin C concentration in PMNs. CONCLUSION: Although the relationship between low plasma Vitamin C levels and Periodontitis is clear, the disease cannot be explained by insufficient Vitamin C storage capacity of leucocytes; the question remains through which mechanism low plasma Vitamin C levels are related to Periodontitis.