BACKGROUND Antioxidants are believed to prevent many types of disease. Some previous studies suggest that dietary supplementation with vitamin C results in a decrease in the level of one of the markers of oxidative damage-8-oxoguanine in the DNA of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). AIM OF TRIAL: To investigate the effect of different dose levels of dietary supplementation with vitamin C on oxidative DNA damage. METHODS A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial was carried out using three different levels (80, 200 and 400 mg) of dietary vitamin C supplementation in a healthy population of 160 volunteers; supplementation was for a period of 15 weeks followed by a 10 week washout period. Peripheral blood samples were obtained every 5 weeks from baseline to 25 weeks. RESULTS An increase in PBMC vitamin C levels was not observed following supplementation in healthy volunteers. There was no effect found on 8-oxoguanine measured using HPLC with electrochemical detection for any of the three supplemented groups compared to placebo. 8-oxoadenine levels were below the limit of detection of the HPLC system used here. CONCLUSIONS Supplementation with vitamin C had little effect on cellular levels in this group of healthy individuals, suggesting their diets were replete in vitamin C. The dose range of vitamin C used did not affect oxidative damage in PBMC DNA.