Ascorbic acid deficiency in bariatric surgical population

Kevin P. Riess, John P. Farnen, Pamela J. Lambert, Michelle A. Mathiason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: To determine the prevalence of ascorbic acid deficiency in the surgical population, whether the body mass index (BMI) has an effect on ascorbic acid concentrations; and whether an association exists between ascorbic acid deficiency and adverse surgical outcomes. Methods: Preoperative plasma ascorbic acid concentrations were prospectively assessed in 20-60-year-old patients undergoing elective abdominal surgery. Ascorbic acid deficiency was defined as any concentration ≤0.3 mg/dL and depletion as any concentration >0.3-0.59 mg/dL. Results: Of the 266 patients evaluated, 167 had a BMI ≥35 kg/m2. A greater BMI was associated with lower mean ascorbic acid concentrations (P = .021). Of the 266 patients, 96 (36%) had abnormally low ascorbic acid concentrations, with 57 (21%) depleted and 39 (15%) deficient. The factors associated with decreased mean ascorbic acid concentrations included younger age (P = .004) and limited vegetable and fruit intake (P = .026). Ascorbic acid supplementation was associated with lower depletion and deficiency rates (P = .001). Conclusion: Ascorbic acid depletion and deficiency occur within the surgical population. The contributing factors included younger age, limited intake of fruits and vegetables, lack of vitamin supplementation, and greater BMI. Low concentrations of ascorbic acid did not affect the surgical outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Ascorbic acid
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Gastric bypass
  • Vitamin C


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