Korean J Fam Pract.  2020 Dec;10(6):474-479. 10.21215/kjfp.2020.10.6.474.

Correlation Analysis of Ascorbic Acid Intake and Blood Lead Levels in Korean Adults: Results from the Korean National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, 2016

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital, Hwaseong, Korea


Lead is a toxic heavy metal that affects multiple body systems. Few human and animal studies have suggested that oral intake of ascorbic acid may decrease the risk of lead toxicity and blood lead levels. Therefore, this study examined the relationship between ascorbic acid intake and blood lead levels in the general Korean population.
This study analyzed 1,415 Koreans aged ≥19 years who participated in the 2016 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). The participants were divided into two groups according to their daily ascorbic acid intake (≥100 mg/day, <100 mg/day). We assessed the association between the intake of ascorbic acid and blood lead levels using linear regression analysis after adjusting for confounding variables such as age, sex, smoking status, high-risk alcohol consumption, body mass index, and occupation.
Male sex, young age (in their 20s), low income, smoking, high-risk drinking, and manual work were significantly associated with low intake of ascorbic acid (<100 mg/day) (P<0.05). Older age, male sex, smoking, high-risk drinking, obesity, and manual work were related to higher blood lead levels (P<0.05). A significant negative relationship was found between ascorbic acid intake and blood lead levels after adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, high-risk drinking, body mass index, and occupation (B=-0.12, P=0.021).
Compared with the group that ingested less than the recommended daily intake of ascorbic acid (<100 mg/day), the group with adequate daily ascorbic acid intake (≥100 mg/day) was associated with decreased blood lead levels.


Ascorbic Acid; Lead; Metals; Heavy; Nutrition Surveys
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