Researchers call for doubling of RDA on vitamin C

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for vitamin C should be officially doubled to a new level of 120 milligrams per day, researchers conclude in a new report, with potential benefits for everything from heart disease to cataracts and cancer.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, says the time is past when the amount of vitamin C that can prevent the 16th century sailor's disease of scurvy is considered all that's needed for optimal health.

The current recommendation of 60 milligrams of vitamin C daily has been in place for decades and is reflected in medical textbooks, many vitamin supplements and nutritional folklore. But it doesn't reflect the wealth of new research done in recent years, which shows that slightly higher levels of this antioxidant vitamin could play a more important role in prevention of degenerative disease.

"If the antioxidant function of vitamin C is accepted as relevant to and important for human health, then morbidity and mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease and cataract - in addition to scurvy - must be used as criteria for determining vitamin C requirements," said Balz Frei, professor and director of OSU's Linus Pauling Institute.

The totality of evidence from human studies strongly suggests a dietary intake of at least 90-100 milligrams of vitamin C is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and even higher intakes to reduce cataract risk, said Frei and research associate Anitra Carr in the new report.

Although many people take supplements of up to 2,000 milligrams per day or even more with no apparent ill effects, studies show that in healthy people tissue saturation of vitamin C usually occurs with intakes of about 100 milligrams per day. And some studies have found little to be gained on at least some medical

Contact: Balz Frei
Oregon State University

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