False negative stool occult blood test caused by ingestion of ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

R. M. Jaffe, B. Kasten, D. S. Young, J. D. MacLowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a female patient with unexplained anemia, ascorbic acid ingestion and apparent false negative occult blood tests were related. When she stopped ascorbic acid, her stools became strongly reactive ('4+') by three tests for occult stool blood; this association was observed repeatedly. A test developed to measure stool occult blood in the presence of ascorbic acid remained reactive throughout this observation, and the observation was confirmed by in vitro studies. Current tests for occult blood depend on the pseudoperoxidase activity of heme and are inhibited by low levels of ascorbic acid. Reducing substances chemically similar to ascorbic acid also inhibits occult blood tests; oxidized ascorbic acid and sulfhydryl reducing agents do not inhibit them at physiologic levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-826
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Volume83
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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