Vitamin C and Copper

I receive Chris MasterJohn’s emails and more recently he made reference to the point that there is evidence that high dosing with Vitamin C can cause a certain amount of copper depletion.

I looked up his references and there is a paper from 1983 which does tend to indicate this.

The influence of ascorbic acid supplementation on the copper status of young adult men was investigated. Subjects consuming self-selected diets took 500 mg of ascorbic acid with each meal (1500 mg/day) for 64 days. Blood samples were obtained at 0, 28, 52, and 64 days in order to determine serum copper and serum ceruloplasmin. Each subject thus served as his own control. Analyses were repeated 20 days after the ascorbic acid supplement was terminated. Serum ceruloplasmin activity was significantly reduced (p less than 0.01) at every data point throughout the ascorbic acid supplementation period. A similar but nonsignificant trend was observed for serum copper. Furthermore there was a significant increase (p less than 0.01) in serum copper concentration 20 days after the supplementation period. Although observed effects occurred within physiological ranges of normal values, this study confirms that a high ascorbic acid intake is antagonistic to copper status of men as has been demonstrated in laboratory animals.

Copper is used for a number of things including Complex IV in the Electron Transport Chain of mitochondria.

The drop was only around 20%, but its worth being aware of this.


Thanks. There’s a lot of internet talk about iron overload and copper deficiency. I first heard about it from @RickCohenMD. I have not been able to get my arms around it but I have been donating blood as often as I can for the last several months.

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Fake vitamin C, ascorbic acid is about 1.5 cents per 250mg. You can probably find it cheaper, that’s the first one I saw. Ascorbic acid taken from fruit is 22.5 cents per 250 mg capsule. I’ve never bought one of these. I take 2 grams per day of the fake stuff. Wow, who knew? I’d heard Chris mention that he buys the good stuff and never figured it out before.

I’m reading the copper book by Morley Robbins and he talks about it a bit, but I’m not done yet.