Vitamin C: Are you Eating Enough Fruit and Vegetables?
‘Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients’ is the opening sentence of the WebMD blog by Kathleen M Zelman MPH, RD, LD. Which makes it all the more surprising when Doll and Ricou report severe vitamin C deficiency in a 79 y male. Unfortunately, many people do not consume the recommended requirement (75-90 mg) of vitamin C daily.
40% of French men and women (Sirot et., 2011), 44% of Americans (2001-2002 What We Eat in America), and almost 25% of Mexicans (Barquera et al., 2009) have inadequate vitamin C intakes. Moreover, these national surveys do not adjust for seasonal variation with vitamin C status rising in the summer when fresh fruit and vegetables are more abundant. Genetic differences in a vitamin C transporter (SLC23A1) may also partially explain individual differences in vitamin C status.
Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant. Red blood cells (RBC) turnover approximately every 90 days. The process releases hemoglobin, rich with iron - a pro-oxidant, into the blood stream. A protein, haptoglobin (HP), binds free hemoglobin and carries it to the kidney for excretion. This minimizes exposure of blood vessels and tissues to oxidative stress. Genetic modifications in HP proteins can reduce their binding-affinity leaving free hemoglobin circulating in blood for longer periods. In individuals with the HP 2-2 genotype, research suggests that vitamin C and E are especially important to help reduce risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.
The GoodHouseKeeping consumer’s guide to green cites the top 10 sources of vitamin C are: guava (188 mg), red sweet peppers (142 mg), kiwi (70 mg), oranges (70mg), green sweet peppers (60mg), grapefruit juice (50-70mg), vegetable juice cocktail (50 mg), strawberries (49 mg), brussel sprouts (48 mg), and cantaloupe (47mg).
Others may follow Dr Moyad’s advice, “It is just not practical for most people to consume the required servings of fruits and vegetables needed on a consistent basis, whereas taking a once-daily supplement is safe, effective, and easy to do.”
Bottomline, remember vitamin C is important for your health.
Doll S, Ricou B. Severe vitamin C deficiency in a critically ill adult: a case report. 2013 EJCN doi:10.1036/ejcn.2013.42
Sirot V, Dumas C, Leblanc JC, Margaritis I. Food and nutrient intakes of French frequent seafood consumers with regard to fish consumption recommendations: results from the CALIPSO study. 2011 Br J Nutr doi:10.1017/S0007114510005027
Barquera S, Hernandez-Barrera L, Campos-Nonanto I, Espinosa J, Flores M, J AB, Rivera JA. Energy and nutrient consumption in adults: analysis of the Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey 2006. 2009 Salud Publica Mex 51:S562-73