Serum vitamin E, C and A status of the drug addicts undergoing detoxification: influence of drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors

Abstract

Background: The study was carried out on the hypothesis that drug addicts would have reduced vitamin E, C and A status which could be influenced by drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors.

Method: Serum concentrations of Vitamin E, C and A of male drug addicts and cohort controls were analysed, and influence of drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors of the addicts on the vitamin status was assessed. The study was conducted among 253 drug addicts who sought detoxification voluntarily during the period of June 1997 to July 1998 at the Central Drug Addiction Treatment Hospital, Dhaka, and 100 cohort control men. Research instruments were questionnaire and blood specimens. HPLC and spectrophotometric methods were used to determine the vitamin levels in sera of drug addicts.

Results: α-Tocopherol (12.60±3.73 compared with 16.3±3.37 µmol/l; t=8.6, P=0.05), ascorbic acid (21.59±10.5 compared with 38.3±13.62 µmol/l; t=10.93, P=0.003) and retinol (1.15±0.39 compared with 1.33±0.30 µmol/l; t=5.28, P=0.048) in the drug addicts were significantly low as compared to those in the cohort controls. Use of multiple illicit drugs for a longer period of time did result in reduced levels of these vitamins. A significant reduction in retinol concentration was noted among the multiple drug users (F(2,250)=3.23, P=0.041). Duration of addiction had a significant linear correlation with the level of reduction in retinol (F(2,250)=3.23, P=0.041) and α-tocopherol (F(2,250)=3.06, P=0.049). Apart from having a significant negative correlation between number of sexual partners and retinol level (F(3,247)=2.65, P=0.049), sexual practice did not have any influence on the vitamin status of the addicts. Occupation did have a significant effect on the ascorbic acid level (F(4,248)=2.46, P=0.046), but other socioeconomic factors like income, age etc did not influence the vitamin E, C and A levels. Body mass index had a positive linear correlation with the vitamins, but it was significant only with vitamin C (F(2,250)=7.06, P=0.001).

Conclusions: These results could have important implications for providing an antioxidant therapy to drug addicts and thus rehabilitating them into normal life. Risk of HIV infection and transmission (if any) could be reduced or inhibited.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2001) 55, 1022–1027

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the financial support by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Government of Bangladesh and are also grateful to the Director, Central Drug Addiction Treatment Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh for her kind assistance.

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Correspondence to SK Nazrul Islam.

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Nazrul Islam, S., Jahangir Hossain, K. & Ahsan, M. Serum vitamin E, C and A status of the drug addicts undergoing detoxification: influence of drug habit, sexual practice and lifestyle factors. Eur J Clin Nutr 55, 1022–1027 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601263

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Keywords

  • drug addiction
  • antioxidant vitamins status
  • drug habit
  • sexual practice

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