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December 8, 1999

Recommendations for Vitamin C Intake

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthorMargaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephenLurieMD PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(22):2118-2119. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-22-jbk1208

To the Editor: The comments by Dr Levine and colleagues1 regarding an appropriate recommended daily allowance for vitamin C are controversial. The data reported in the previous study by Levine et al2 support earlier published data,3 and indicate that plasma saturation with vitamin C does not occur until consumption of a dosage of 500 mg twice a day. A critical protective effect of vitamin C is its synergistic role in regenerating vitamin E in plasma low-density lipoprotein. Oxidation of plasma low-density lipoprotein is a key step in deposition of plaque in arteries. Thus, maintaining a maximal level of vitamin C in the plasma significantly reduces free-radical generation leading to low-density lipoprotein oxidation.4 There is considerable evidence that taking vitamins C and E in supplement form may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and death.5 Dosages of less than 500 mg twice a day do not provide plasma saturation, and do not reduce free-radical formation in plasma as effectively.

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