Surely vitamin C, one of the most famous nutrients in all the land, is a powerful antioxidant with a bounty of big roles in the body. A new report has examined the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), asking the question of whether it is correct? Or is it promoting only half the vitamin C that it should be?
That’s what scientists now argue: that the RDA for vitamin C is less than half of what it should be. The problem, they say? That medical experts evaluate this natural, critical nutrient in the same way they do drugs, which leads to faulty conclusions.
PLUS: Vitamin C’s ability to prevent heart disease
There is compelling evidence that the RDA of vitamin C should be raised to 200 milligrams (mg) per day for adults. It stands at 75 and 90 mg a day now for women and men. Such optimum levels will saturate cells and tissues in a strong antioxidant, without posing any risk. (Vitamin C is water soluble and is easily shipping out of the body in urine when there is too much.)
We might need a wakeup call based on the fact that many adults in the U.S. and around the world are deficient in vitamin C. Plus, there is growing evidence that more of this vitamin could help prevent chronic disease.
Testing vitamin C like a prescription drug won’t demonstrate how certain natural substances can prevent disease. In fact, some benefits of micronutrients in protecting against disease are apparent only after years or decades of study. Vitamin C could help reduce chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and cancer, and the underlying issues that lead to them — high blood pressure, inflammation, poor immune response, and clogged arteries.
A good diet with five to nine daily servings of fruits and raw or steam-cooked vegetables, together with a six-ounce glass of orange juice, could provide 200 mg of vitamin C. But we know the truth is that most of us don’t follow a good diet.
As it stands, up to one-third of people are marginally deficient in vitamin C, and up to 20% in some populations are severely deficient — including smokers and older adults. Even marginal deficiency can lead to malaise, fatigue, and lethargy. Meanwhile, strong levels of vitamin C can enhance immune function, reduce inflammatory conditions such as atherosclerosis, and significantly lower blood pressure.
A recent analysis of 29 studies concluded that 500 mg of vitamin C significantly reduced blood pressure. Another study of almost 20,000 men and women found that mortality from heart disease was 60% lower when comparing the blood vitamin C in the highest 20% of people to the lowest 20%. Elsewhere, it was found that men with the lowest levels had a 62% higher risk of cancer deaths after a dozen years.