Ascorbic acid, the reduced form of vitamin C, may protect against gastric cancer and is secreted by the normal stomach. Secretion is impaired in Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) associated chronic gastritis. This study examined if eradication of H pylori improves gastric juice ascorbate values. Fasting gastric juice and plasma samples were collected at endoscopy from patients participating in trials of H pylori eradication for duodenal ulcer disease and intestinal metaplasia before and up to 15 months after attempted eradication. Ascorbic acid and total vitamin C concentrations were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. In 12 patients in whom H pylori was successfully eradicated gastric juice ascorbate and total vitamin C concentrations and the ratio of juice to plasma vitamin C rose after treatment. Analysis after treatment suggested that the rise was greatest in patients with high final plasma vitamin C concentrations, even though these did not change with treatment. By contrast, in 22 patients in whom H pylori eradication was unsuccessful there were no significant changes in juice or plasma concentrations after treatment. It is concluded that successful eradication of H pylori improves secretion of vitamin C into gastric juice. It is speculated that this increases protection against gastric cancer.
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