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Vitamin C Levels Depleted in HIV-Infected Youths

But vitamin E levels higher in HIV-infected adolescents and young adults

MONDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-infected adolescents and young adults have lower plasma concentrations of vitamin C, but more vitamin E than uninfected youths, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Charles B. Stephensen, Ph.D., of the University of California at Davis, and colleagues studied plasma concentrations of ascorbate, urate, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, and antioxidant status in 241 HIV-positive and 115 HIV-negative patients aged 14 to 23.

Plasma ascorbate levels were lower in HIV-infected participants than in those who were uninfected, but gamma-tocopherol levels were higher. Meanwhile, HIV status did not affect plasma alpha-tocopherol levels.

Although plasma gamma-tocopherol levels were generally more elevated in participants with oxidative damage, the researchers report levels of ascorbate and alpha-tocopherol were adequate in 90 percent of the study participants.

"Low plasma ascorbate concentrations in HIV-positive subjects suggest that vitamin C requirements are significantly higher in those with HIV infection," the authors write. "Plasma tocopherol concentrations were not depressed by HIV infection and may be maintained by compensatory mechanisms such as the activity of alpha-tocopherol transfer protein."

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