In contrast to normal subjects diabetic patients had very low plasma ascorbic acid and significantly high (p < 0.001) dehydroascorbic acid irrespective of age, sex, duration of the disease, type of treatment, and glycemic control. However, there was no significant difference between the mean leukocyte ascorbate concentrations of the two populations. The in vitro rates of dehydroascorbate reduction in the hemolysate and the erythrocyte reduced glutathione levels and the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activities, which regulate the dehydroascorbate reduction, were similar in normal and diabetic subjects. The turnover of ascorbic acid was higher in the diabetics than that in the normal volunteers. Experiments with diabetic rats indicated that the increased turnover of ascorbic acid was probably due to increased oxidation of ascorbate to dehydroascorbate in tissue mitochondria. Ascorbic acid supplementation at a dose of 500 mg per day for a brief period of 15 days resulted in an increase in the plasma ascorbate level temporarily, but it did not lower the blood glucose level of the diabetic patients. © 1981.