1. The copper-containing protein caeruloplasmin has several oxidase activities.
2. Its ability to catalyse the oxidation of ferrous ions to the ferric state (ferroxidase activity) makes it an important antioxidant in vivo.
3. Recent reports have suggested that oral supplementation with vitamin C can inhibit the oxidase activities of caeruloplasmin.
4. As expected, damage to DNA and membrane lipids was stimulated by mixtures of iron salt and ascorbate, and this damage could be inhibited by caeruloplasmin provided the molar ratio of ascorbate to caeruloplasmin was kept sufficiently low.
5. When the molar ratio of ascorbate to caeruloplasmin was greater than 200 substantial loss of ferroxidase antioxidant activity occurred.
6. It is unlikely, however, that oral supplementation with vitamin C can raise plasma levels sufficiently to inhibit caeruloplasmin activity in vivo.