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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Do Your Dietary Choices Provide Enough Vitamin C?

By Michael McBurney

When there is a plethora of readily available food, people can be much more discerning in their dietary choices. With bountiful food options and resources, skeptical consumers can be selective. Some may prefer to avoid animal sources of food. Others may utilize home delivery from specialized manufacturers or frequent favorite restaurants with specific promises – locally-grown, vegan, GMO-free, gluten-free, etc.  One of the current hot buttons is genetically-modified plants. CBS Sunday Morning had a great segment on the GMO debate this past weekend. Like the FDA says, I believe foods from genetically-engineered plants and salmon are safe.

Today’s main citation focuses on an age demographic (infants and toddlers) which doesn’t have control of their diet. Their health, and ours, is probably more often affected by the breadth of our food choices than their characteristics (GMO-free, plant vs animal, etc). Why? Because we are creatures of habit and routinely eat the same foods, at the same times. Weekend days may differ from week days but each has its pattern. Depending upon our food choices, our diet may, or may not, provide essential nutrients.  Take for example today’s main citation.

It is a case report of a child with scurvy because of an exclusive plant-based diet from 2.5 to 11 months of life. Although this case may be an exaggerated example, the CDC 2nd Nutrition Report reports 6% of the US population has vitamin C levels indicative of scurvy (<11.4 µmol/L). The vitamin C RDA for infants 7-12 months is 50 mg. A ¾ cup of orange juice provides 93 milligrams. There are many food options with vitamin C.

Scurvy shouldn’t be found in 2016. The problem is more pervasive than just the US. The EPIC-Norfolk prospective study of almost 20,000 adults finds 50% of the population has vitamin C concentrations below 50 µmol/L with the lowest mortality rate being in the upper quintile (>70 µmol/L)L.

Don’t be a statistic or a case report.  Review your dietary choices to be certain you are consuming recommended amounts of vitamin C. If not, use a multivitamin supplement.

Main Citation

Vitoria I, Lopez B, Gomez J, Torres C, Guasp M, Calvo I, Dalmau J. Improper use of a plant-based vitamin D-deficient beverage causes scurvy in an infant. 2015 Pediatr doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-2781

Other Citation

Khaw K-T, Bingham S, Welch A, Luben R, Wareham N, Oakes S, Day N. Relation between plasma ascorbic acid and mortality in men and women in EPIC-Norfolk prospective study: a prospective population study. 2001 Lancet doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)04128-3