From link: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/1996pres/960415c.html
Date: Monday, April 15, 1996
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sharon Ricks or Jane DeMouy (301) 496-6110
200 MILLIGRAMS DAILY OF VITAMIN C IS APPROPRIATE
Two hundred milligrams of vitamin C may be an appropriate daily amount
for healthy men, according to a new study by the National Institutes of
Health (NIH). The findings are published in the April 16 Proceedings of
Academy of Sciences.
"Eating five fruits and vegetables a day will easily provide 200 mg,"
says principal investigator Dr. Mark Levine of the National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a part of the NIH.
Seven healthy men aged 20 to 26 years old were hospitalized for 4 to
6 months and fed a vitamin C-restricted diet. Reducing the amount of stored
vitamin C in the body ensured accurate measurements of absorption of the
nutrient for daily doses ranging from 30 mg to 2,500 mg.
Among Levine's findings: at 30 mg, six patients reported feeling tired
and irritable. At 200 mg, plasma had more than 80 percent maximal concentration
of vitamin C and tissues were completely saturated. Doses of 500 mg and
were completely excreted in urine. At 1,000 mg, some volunteers showed
potential adverse effects, such as high levels of oxalate and uric acid
in the urine, which might lead to kidney stones. "It's almost as if we
are programmed to have a certain amount of vitamin C and no more," says
The study is the first to measure levels of absorption, distribution
and excretion of vitamin C for multiple doses in patients who are hospitalized,
which ensures accurate dosage and control of diet. Such a rigorous study
provides the kind of data needed to establish a Recommended Daily Allowance
(RDA). The current RDA for vitamin C, which is determined by the Food and
Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, is 60 mg. That value
is based on the amount of vitamin C needed to prevent a person from getting
scurvy and provide body stores for about 30 days, with a margin of safety.
"It's a great incentive for people to eat more fruits and vegetables,"
says Dr. Van Hubbard, director of NIDDK's Division of Nutrition Research
Coordination. He explains that vitamin C contributes to healing wounds,
maintenance of capillaries, bones and teeth, and absorption of iron. Citrus
fruits, strawberries, and green vegetables such as broccoli are rich in
"There's another message here for doctors," Levine adds. "They should
ask patients who complain of fatigue or irritability what they eat. If
their diet is all fast food, they may be deficient in vitamin C. It's a
good, cheap intervention to first try adding fruits and vegetables to the
diet for a few weeks."
Levine is now studying ideal intake for women. When asked whether he
takes supplements, Levine says, "I used to, but now I eat my fruits and
Vitamin C Protects Against
But Smoking Decreases Body's Use of Antioxidants
by Jeannie Davies
Feb. 22, 2002 -- Break out the orange juice,
the berries, the broccoli, bell peppers, and cabbage. Here's more evidence
that Vitamin C -- from food and supplements -- protects your eyes from
Researchers from Boston's Tufts University studied
data on 492 women aged
53 to 73, to see how nutrition affected their
risk of getting cataracts. They found a significant link between age and
vitamin C intake for risk of cortical cataracts, a very common form. For
women younger than 60, a vitamin C intake greater than 362 mg/day reduced
risk of cataracts by 57% compared with those who had an intake less than
140 mg/day. Those who took vitamin C supplements for more than 10 years
had 60% lower odds of cataracts than those who took no
supplements. "This is interesting because
recommended dietary allowances are considered to be significantly greater
than the vitamin C intakes required to
prevent vitamin C deficiency-related disease,"
writes lead author Allen Taylor, a
researcher with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition
Research Center on
Aging at Tufts. His study appears in the most
recent issue of the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers also
looked at factors related to having another type of cataract -- called
posterior subcapsular (PSC) opacities -- which involve the outermost layers
of the lens of the eye. They found that women who never smoked and who
had high dietary intake of carotenoids had fewer PSC cataracts. Smoking
has been shown to decrease the body's stores of antioxidants, writes Taylor.
They saw no connection between intake of antioxidants called lutein and
zeaxanthin with risk of PSC cataracts -- although some other studies have
found a link. That issue needs further investigation, says Taylor. Not
all studies have shown that vitamin C has this protective role, he writes.
However, the benefit of long-term use of supplements is consistent with
what's known about cataract formation. Damage to the eye's cortex --
causing opacity and cataracts -- occurs over
an extended period of time, and is caused by long-term build-up of proteins,
he says. "These data add more weight to the accumulating evidence
that antioxidant nutrients can be [used] to alter the rates of development
of these major (but less studied) forms of age-related opacities," Taylor
writes. It also provides indirect evidence that smoking negates all the
benefits of antioxidants by preventing the body from effectively using
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of reach of children.
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