You already know that Vitamin C is good for you. It’s essential for a healthy and strong immune system. Vitamin C helps your body to fight colds and flu. You also need vitamin C to build collagen — an important protein that holds your connective tissue in place. Without collagen, your teeth would become loose, your blood vessels would break, and your organs would get soft.
In fact, you’d be developing a nasty case of scurvy just like sailors did three centuries ago! It’s not surprising then, that a new study has found that dietary vitamin C can prevent oral pre-malignant lesions.
The study, conducted by Dr. Nancy Nairi Maserejian, of New England Research Institutes, Watertown, Massachusetts, and colleagues examined the vitamin intake of 42,340 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow- up Study.
The men provided information on supplement use (specifically the intake of vitamins C, E, A, and carotenoids) and diet every 2 to 4 years. The data collected was then used to study the occurrence of oral pre-malignant lesions.
The research team documented in the International Journal of Cancer that 207 oral pre-malignant lesions were diagnosed between 1986 and 2002. Of those who did not get oral lesions, dietary vitamin C was the most significant in reducing risk. Those with the highest intake of dietary vitamin C had a 50% reduction in risk compared to those with the lowest intake.
So the study shows that getting lots of vitamin C in your diet can be beneficial to your health. But what about taking vitamin C supplements?
Many reports are inconclusive. Scientific studies generally indicate that taking vitamin C supplements does not prevent the onset of a cold. Vitamin C supplements don’t seem to have the same protective effect against cancer that dietary vitamin C does. And it seems that there are just as many studies saying that vitamin C intake may reduce the risk of stroke, as there are that say there are no benefits in regard to protecting against stroke. Some research has suggested that vitamin C can reduce the risk of cataracts if taken for at least a ten year period.
Talk to your health care provider if you are taking vitamin C supplements. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for adult men is 90 mg per day. The RDA for women is 75 mg per day. The tolerable upper intake level for men and women has been set at 2000 mg per day.
If you are getting your vitamin C intake from diet alone, just remember that cooking and boiling vegetables can cause vitamin C to chemically decompose. Copper cookware can also accelerate vitamin C decomposition.
So keep eating those apples and oranges (and lemons, kiwi, strawberries, cantaloupe, red and green peppers, broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus…) and give yourself a natural boost of antioxidants.