Vitamin C is a potent radical scavenger and a physiological part of the antioxidant system in human skin. The aim of this study was to measure changes in the radical-scavenging activity of human skin in vivo due to supplementation with different doses of vitamin C and at different time points. Therefore, 33 volunteers were supplemented with vitamin C or placebo for 4 weeks. The skin radical-scavenging activity was measured with electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. After 4 weeks, the intake of 100 mg vitamin C/day resulted in a significant increase in the radical-scavenging activity by 22%. Intake of 180 mg/day even resulted in a significant increase of 37%. No changes were found in the placebo group. A part of the study population was additionally measured after 2 weeks: in this group radical scavenging had already reached maximal activity after 2 weeks. In conclusion, orally administered vitamin C increases the radical-scavenging activity of the skin. The effect occurs fast and is enhanced with higher doses of vitamin C.

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