Purpose of review
Parenteral ascorbic acid has been frequently used to overcome problems of vitamin C deficiency in haemodialysis patients. The benefits of vitamin C supplementation in clinical studies have been controversial and did not consider toxicological aspects. The review summarizes recent findings of the effects of parenteral ascorbic acid and discusses toxicological effects.
Vitamin C deficiency in haemodialysis patients, which has been frequently described, cannot be improved with oral supplementation due to limited absorption of high dosages. To avoid consequences of vitamin C deficiency, parenteral vitamin C solutions should be administered because this intervention is the only way to guarantee a sufficient supply to the cells. A beneficial consequence of parenteral vitamin C on the recombinant human erythropoietin resistance is an additional therapeutic effect, which contributes to the prevention of iron deficiency anaemia in haemodialysis patients. Thus, large amount of supplemental vitamin C are required for extended periods of time (up to 500 mg 3 times a week). To avoid hyperoxaluria, plasma oxalate levels should be monitored on a regular basis, for example, once a week.
Parenteral administration of ascorbic acid may be an approach that can overcome problems of vitamin C deficiency in haemodialysis patients – in particular problems of iron overload, erythropoetin resistance, and chronic inflammation.