Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials testing the effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood lipids

Lookup NU author(s): Ammar Ashor, Dr Mario Siervo, Dr Naomi Willis, Professor John Mathers


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Background & aims: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in humans revealed contradictory results regarding the effect of vitamin C supplementation on blood lipids. We aimed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs investigating the effect of vitamin C supplementation on total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides and to determine whether the effects are modified by the participants' or intervention characteristics.Methods: Four databases (PubMed, Embase, Scopus and Cochrane Library) were searched from inception until August 2014 for RCTs supplementing adult participants with vitamin C for >= 2 weeks and reporting changes in blood lipids.Results: Overall, vitamin C supplementation did not change blood lipids concentration significantly. However, supplementation reduced total cholesterol in younger participants (<= 52 years age) (-0.26 mmol/L, 95% CI: -0.45, -0.07) and LDL-C in healthy participants (-0.32 mmol/L, 95% CI: -0.57, -0.07). In diabetics, vitamin C supplementation reduced triglycerides significantly (-0.15 mmol/L, 95% CI: -0.30, -0.002) and increased HDL-C significantly (0.06 mmol/L, 95% CI: 0.02, all). Meta-regression analyses showed the changes in total cholesterol (beta: -0.24, CI: -0.36, -0.11) and in triglycerides (beta: -0.17, CI: -0.30, -0.05) following vitamin C supplementation were greater in those with higher concentrations of these lipids at baseline. Greater increase in HDL-C was observed in participants with lower baseline plasma concentrations of vitamin C (beta: -0.002, CI: -0.003, -0.0001).Conclusions: Overall, vitamin C supplementation had no significant effect on lipid profile. However, subgroup and sensitivity analyses showed significant reductions in blood lipids following supplementation in sub-populations with dyslipidaemia or low vitamin C status at baseline.PROSPERO Database registration: CRD42014013487, (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ashor AW, Siervo M, van der Velde F, Willis ND, Mathers JC

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Nutrition

Year: 2016

Volume: 35

Issue: 3

Pages: 626-637

Print publication date: 01/06/2016

Online publication date: 17/06/2015

Acceptance date: 30/05/2015

ISSN (print): 0261-5614

ISSN (electronic): 1532-1983



DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.05.021