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How much vitamin C do you need_

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					        JAMA PATIENT PAGE                                                                                    The Journal of the American Medical Association




                                                                                                                                                                                   VITAMIN C
How much vitamin C do you need?

V
         itamin C has become popular                        WHAT IS VITAMIN C?
         because of its role as an
                                                         Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is
         antioxidant, which potentially                  1 of 13 major vitamins, which are a group
offers protection from some diseases                     of complex chemicals that your body needs
and degenerative aspects of aging. But                   to function properly. It is 1 of the water-
there can be too much of a good thing.                   soluble vitamins, which means that your
Taking too much vitamin C can cause                      body uses what it needs and eliminates the
side effects such as nausea and                          excess out of the body.
diarrhea.
    How much is enough may be a                                                                              What foods                         HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?
difficult question to answer. The Food                                                                       contain                          The current RDA for vitamin C for most
and Nutrition Board of the National                                                                          vitamin C?                       people 15 years old and older is 60 mg
Academy of Sciences is revising its                                                                                                           daily. Among those who need more
                                                                                                                                              vitamin C include pregnant women (70
current recommendations for                                                                                                                   mg), breast-feeding women (90 to 95
vitamin C intake. In the April 21,                                                                                                            mg), and smokers (at least 100 mg).
1999, issue of JAMA, experts at the                                                                                                           Because vitamin C can’t be stored in the
National Institutes of Health                               Strawberries (1 cup, sliced)                                95 mg                 body, it is important to replenish it by
suggest that the current recommended                        Papaya (1 cup, cubes)                                       85                    taking the recommended amounts of
dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C                                                                                                          vitamin C each day.
                                                            Kiwi (1 medium)                                             75
should be increased from 60 mg to                           Orange (1 medium)                                           70                        IS MORE BETTER?
100-200 mg daily. They emphasize                            Orange juice (1/2 cup)                                      50
that whenever possible, the vitamin C                                                                                                         Some people take large amounts of
                                                            Cantaloupe (1/4 medium)                                     60                    vitamin supplements because of the
should come from fruits and vegetables,                     Mango (1 cup, sliced)                                       45                    belief that these supplements improve
and that people can get the
                                                            Grapefruit (1/2 medium)                                     40                    health or that they can ward off certain
recommended amount by eating 5                                                                                                                illnesses, such as colds. But there is no
                                                            Grapefruit juice (1/2 cup)                                  35
servings of fruits and vegetables daily.                                                                                                      convincing evidence to show that this is
                                                            Pepper, red or green (1/2 cup)
    Vitamin C is found in foods such as                                                                                                       true. Taking excessive amounts of
                                                                       Raw                                              65                    vitamin C (more than about 1000 mg
citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, bell
peppers, and broccoli. Eating well-                                    Cooked                                           50                    per day) may cause nausea, stomach
balanced meals and foods rich in                            Broccoli (1/2 cup, cooked)                                  60                    cramps, diarrhea, and possibly kidney
                                                            Kale (1 cup, cooked)                                        55                    stones. Discuss the use of vitamin
vitamin C is the best way to get your                                                                                                         supplements with your doctor.
required intake. A diet rich in fruits                      Brussels sprouts (1/2 cup, cooked)                          50
and vegetables may also be beneficial in                    Snow peas (1/2 cup, cooked)                                                        FOR MORE INFORMATION:
helping to prevent some types of                                       Fresh                                            40
                                                                                                                                              • American Dietetic Association
cancer.                                                                Frozen                                           20                      Consumer Nutrition Hot Line
                                                            Potato (1 medium, baked)                                    25                      800/366-1655 or www.eatright.org
                                                         Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture                                               • Mayo Clinic Health Oasis
   WHAT DOES IT DO?                                                                                                                             www.mayohealth.org
 Vitamin C helps body cells grow and stay healthy, including those in bones, teeth, gums,
 ligaments, and blood vessels. It also helps the body’s response to infection and stress, and                                                  INFORM YOURSELF:
 helps use iron efficiently. If your body doesn’t get enough daily vitamin C, you’re more                                                     To find this and previous JAMA Patient
 likely to have skin bruising, bleeding gums, poor healing of wounds, loosening of teeth,                                                     Pages, check out the AMA’s Web site at
 tender joints, and infections.                                                                                                               www.ama-assn.org/consumer.htm.


Additional Sources: American Dietetic Association, AMA’s Family Medical Guide, AMA’s Encyclopedia of
Medicine
Mi Young Hwang, Writer                                  The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA and the AMA. The information and recommendations appearing
                                                        on this page are appropriate in most instances; but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific
Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor                            information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA and AMA suggest that you consult your physician.
Jeff Molter, Director of Science News                   This page may be reproduced noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with
                                                        patients. Any other reproduction is subject to AMA approval. To purchase bulk reprints, call 212/354-0050.



1460 JAMA, April 21, 1999—Vol 281, No. 15

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Description: Vitamin C can enhance the immune system, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, gums and teeth will help prevent cataracts, accelerated wound healing, relieve asthma, infertility treatment has some effect. Intake - per person per day of vitamin C intake of 30 mg or so like, even men should be noted that smoking increases the amount of supplement, but do not add more than 35 mg. Food sources - an adequate supply of vitamin C can delay aging. Kiwi, oranges, lemons, grapefruit are good sources of vitamin C.