An NHANES Analysis of 2005 - 2006 Data Examining the Relationship Between Diabetes Mellitus and Vitamin C Ingestion

Daniel Fischman, Venkata Subhash Gorrepati, Pramil Cheriyath


Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most common diseases afflicting the United States (U.S.) population. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is considered to be one of the most potent anti-oxidants present in the body. Thus, we present the results of our epidemiologic analysis of whether Vitamin C ingestion is related to the development of diabetes mellitus.

Methods: For the purpose of our study, we examined National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data collected between 2005 and 2006. Of 10,348 participants who had data collected during this two-year period, 4979 did not meet any exclusion criteria, and were included in our data analysis. We performed a multivariate logistic regression to find out whether plasma levels of vitamin C were correlated with the development of diabetes.

Results: The unadjusted odds ratios of having diabetes in the four quartiles of Vitamin C starting from lowest to highest were 1, 0.87 (95% CI of 0.67 - 1.13), 0.62 (95% CI of 0.50 - 0.78) and 0.45 (95% CI of 0.359 - 0.557), respectively. When the analysis was adjusted for risk factors the odds ratios still showed a dose-response relation with odds ratios of 1, 0.79 (95% CI of 0.6-1.04), 0.58 (95% CI of 0.45-0.76) and 0.53 (95% CI of 0.43-0.63), respectively.

Conclusion: Our study supports the hypothesis that higher plasma levels of Vitamin C levels are protective against the development of Diabetes Mellitus. Given the limitations of our study, a prospective, randomized study looking at Vitamin C ingestion to reach predefined serum levels is warranted to further investigate the necessary logistics of Vitamin C use in the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;2(2):66-71


Diabetes mellitus; Vitamin C; Anti-oxidant

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