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Associate Professor Anitra Carr

Anitra CarrDirector, Nutrition in Medicine Research Group
Principal Investigator

BSc(Hons)(Cant), PhD(Otago)

Tel +64 3 364 0649

Research interests

Associate Professor Anitra Carr's research speciality is the role of vitamin C in human health and disease. Associate Professor Carr has a background in biochemistry and biomedical research and now carries out translational ‘bench-to-bedside’ studies. She is currently running both observational and interventional studies investigating the bioavailability and health effects of vitamin C. She is particularly interested in the role of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of acute and chronic diseases such as cancer and severe infection.

Associate Professor Carr obtained a PhD from the Department of Pathology, University of Otago, Christchurch, followed by an American Heart Association Post-doctoral Fellowship which was carried out at the Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, USA. Whilst there she produced a number of high impact publications on the role of vitamin C in human health and disease; two of these supported the most recent increase of the US recommended dietary intakes for vitamin C by the US Food and Nutrition Board of the Institutes of Medicine.

Associate Professor Carr returned to the University of Otago, Christchurch, and was awarded a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand to undertake research into the role of vitamin C in severe infection, particularly pneumonia and sepsis. She has also investigated the effects of intravenous vitamin C on cancer and chemotherapy-related symptoms and quality of life. Associate Professor Carr hopes to not only elucidate the underlying mechanisms of action of vitamin C, but to also improve the outcomes of patients with these conditions.

Research expertise

Vitamin C bioavailability and health effects; recommended dietary intakes; fatigue and quality of life; cancer; severe infection; clinical studies.

In the media

Major review articles

  • Carr AC and Cook J. Intravenous vitamin C for cancer therapy – identifying the current gaps in our knowledge. Frontiers in Physiology - Clinical and Translational Physiology. 2018. 9 (article 1182), 1-16. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01182.
  • Carr AC and Maggini S. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients. 2017. 9 (11). pii: E1211. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211.
  • Carr AC, McCall C. The role of vitamin C in the treatment of pain: new insights. J Transl Med. 2017 Apr 14;15(1):77. 
  • Carr A.C., Shaw, G.M., Fowler, A.A., Natarajan, R. Ascorbate-dependent vasopressor synthesis: a rationale for vitamin C administration in severe sepsis and septic shock? Critical Care. 2015. 19, 418.
  • Carr, AC, Vissers MC, Cook, JS. The effect of intravenous vitamin C on cancer- and chemotherapy-related fatigue and quality of life. Frontiers Oncology, 2014. 4 (283), 1-7.
  • Carr, AC, Vissers, MCM. Synthetic or food-derived vitamin C – are they equally bioavailable? Nutrients. 2013. 5, 4284-4304.
  • Carr, A.C., Zhu, B-Z, and Frei, B. Potential anti-atherogenic mechanisms of ascorbate (vitamin C) and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Circ Res. 2000. 87, 349-354.
  • Carr, A.C., Frei, B. The role of natural antioxidants in preserving the biological activity of endothelium-derived nitric oxide. Free Radic Biol Med. 2000. 28, 1806-1814.
  • Carr, A.C., McCall, M.R., Frei, B. Oxidation of LDL by myeloperoxidase and reactive nitrogen species: reaction pathways and antioxidant protection. Arterio Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000. 20, 1716-1723.
  • Carr, A.C.,Frei, B. Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C based on antioxidant and health effects in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999. 69, 1086-1107.
  • Carr, A.C., Frei, B. Does vitamin C act as a pro-oxidant under physiological conditions? FASEB J. 1999. 13, 1007-1024.