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Dr Russ Blog - Vitamin C - Should You Supplement?
Vitamin C - Should You Supplement?
Created on 3/28/2014

Vitamin C is sometimes a lightning rod for controversy -

very conservative healthcare practitioners think that taking supplemental vitamins is a waste of time and money (think "expensive urine");

other practitioners believe that supplementation not only helps prevent vitamin deficiencies, but also helps support good health overall.

Who is right?

In different circumstances, each camp may claim the higher ground. And in most instances the answer is neither black or white, more a shade of gray.

Such is the case with vitamin C.

Not too long ago, recommendations for supplemental vitamin C intake could range into the thousands of milligrams (mg) per day. This approach to supporting good health was popularized by the great scientist, Linus Pauling.

Since the time of Dr. Pauling, however, many studies on vitamin C and health have been performed and published.

The upshot is that most people will possess adequate levels of vitamin C if they eat a wide variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits each day (5-9 servings a day - don't let that number scare you - serving sizes can be pretty small).

An interesting aside - red bell peppers are very high in vitamin C - a tasty food to include in your diet on a regular basis.

Many of us don't eat 5-9 servings of produce every day, in which case a small amount of supplemental daily vitamin C, on the order of 200 mg, might not be a bad idea.

During cold and flu season, or other periods of acute physical and emotional stress, higher doses for a short period of time may also be helpful.

If you've ever had a kidney stones, keep your supplemental vitamin C dose on the low side - high levels may increase the risk of kidney stones. Plus, vitamin C may rarely interact with medications, so it's best to be conservative when it comes to taking vitamin C supplements -

in other words, ask your doctor or pharmacist if doing so is safe, and whether it might be good for you.

Vitamin C is good stuff.

Even better when it comes from fresh vegetables and fruits.

Be well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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