Differential influence of vitamin C on the peripheral and cerebral circulation after diving and exposure to hyperoxia

Otto F. Barak, Kresimir Caljkusic, Ryan L. Hoiland, Philip N. Ainslie, Stephen R. Thom, Ming Yang, Pavle Jovanov, Zeljko Dujic

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We examined if the diving-induced vascular changes in the peripheral and cerebral circulation could be prevented by oral antioxidant supplementation. Fourteen divers performed a single scuba dive to eighteen meter sea water for 47 min. Twelve of the divers participated in a follow-up study involving breathing 60% of oxygen at ambient pressure for 47 min. Before both studies, participants ingested vitamin C (2 g/day) or a placebo capsule for 6 days. After a 2-wk washout, the study was repeated with the different condition. Endothelium-dependent vasodilator function of the brachial artery was assessed pre- and postintervention using the flow-mediated dilation (FMD) technique. Transcranial Doppler ultrasound was used to measure intracranial blood velocities pre- and 90 min postintervention. FMD was reduced by ∼32.8% and ∼21.2% postdive in the placebo and vitamin C trial and posthyperoxic condition in the placebo trial by ∼28.2% ( P < 0.05). This reduction in FMD was attenuated by ∼10% following vitamin C supplementation in the hyperoxic study ( P > 0.05). Elevations in intracranial blood velocities 30 min after surfacing from diving were reduced in the vitamin C study compared with the placebo trial ( P < 0.05). O2 breathing had no postintervention effects on intracranial velocities ( P > 0.05). Prophylactic ingestion of vitamin C effectively abrogated peripheral vascular dysfunction following exposure to 60% O2 but did not abolish the postdive decrease in FMD. Transient elevations of intracranial velocities postdive were reduced by vitamin C. These findings highlight the differential influence of vitamin C on peripheral and cerebral circulations following scuba diving, which are only partly mediated via hyperoxia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)R759-R767
    JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


    • cerebral blood flow
    • flow-mediated dilation
    • hyperoxia
    • transcranial Doppler ultrasound


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