Dietary Vitamin C Intake (not Supplements) Associated with Better Health


    A review of existing research found that dietary patterns containing the recommenced amount of vitamin C from foods was associated with health benefits. Daily dietary intake of 50 to 100 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C from foods was associated with a number of positive health outcomes, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer of the esophagus, stomach, cervix, and lung, and death from any cause. (The current recommended vitamin C intake is 90 mg for men aged 19 and older and 75 mg for women.) Dietary patterns containing foods rich in vitamin C (like fruits and vegetables) are likely also high in other health-promoting compounds, which likely contributed to this finding. Foods high in vitamin C may also have displaced less healthy food choices and contributed to the effects observed.

    The same effect was not found for vitamin C supplements. Indeed, use of vitamin C supplements was associated with higher risk of breast cancer and kidney stones.

    This study supports the recommendation that the emphasis should be on a healthy dietary pattern rather than individual foods or nutrients.


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