Influence of Ascorbic Acid on the Thermic Effect of Feeding in Overweight and Obese Adult Humans




The thermic effect of feeding (TEF: increase in energy expenditure following acute energy intake) is an important physiological determinant of total daily energy expenditure and thus energy balance. Approximately 40% of TEF is believed to be mediated by sympathoadrenal activation and consequent β-adrenergic receptor stimulation of metabolism. In sedentary adults, acute administration of ascorbic acid, a potent antioxidant, augments the thermogenic response to β-adrenergic stimulation. We hypothesized that acute ascorbic acid administration augments TEF in sedentary overweight and obese adults. Energy expenditure was determined (ventilated hood technique) before and 4 h after consumption of a liquid-mixed meal (caloric equivalent 40% of resting energy expenditure (REE)) in 11 sedentary, overweight/obese adults (5 men, 6 women; age: 24 ± 2 years; BMI: 28.5 ± 1.0 kg/m2 (mean ± s.e.)) on two separate, randomly ordered occasions: during continuous intravenous administration of saline (placebo control) and/or ascorbic acid (0.05 g/kg fat-free mass). Acute ascorbic acid administration prevented the increase in plasma concentration of oxidized low-density lipoprotein in the postprandial state (P = 0.04), but did not influence REE (1,668 ± 107 kcal/day vs.1,684 ± 84 kcal/day; P = 0.91) or the area under the TEF response curve (33.4 ± 2.4 kcal vs. 30.5 ± 3.6 kcal; P = 0.52) (control vs. ascorbic acid, respectively). Furthermore, acute ascorbic acid administration had no effect on respiratory exchange ratio, heart rate, or arterial blood pressure in the pre- and postabsorptive states (all P > 0.64). These data imply that the attenuated TEF commonly observed with sedentary lifestyle and obesity is not modulated by ascorbic acid-sensitive oxidative stress.