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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/jama.282.22.2118

To the Editor: The article by Dr Levine and colleagues1 on recommendations for vitamin C intake provides strong rationale for raising the recommended intake for vitamin C from the current level of 60 mg/d to as high as 200 mg/d. However, several statements made by the authors may create misconceptions. In the United States it is unlikely that the consumption of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily would provide 210 to 280 mg of vitamin C. The fruits and vegetables commonly consumed in the US diet are low in vitamin C, typically only 10 to 20 mg per serving.2 For example, the total amount of vitamin C in 1 apple, 1 banana, a lettuce salad, a serving of corn, and a serving of green beans is only 30 to 35 mg. Although the campaign to consume "5-a-day" is commendable, consumers need to be aware of the importance of including 1 or 2 vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in their diet daily, a list that includes citrus, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers.