At a time when Europe is looking to reduce the potency of nutritional supplements on the shelves, scientists have discovered that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is around half what it needs to be to prevent disease.
The current RDA is based on a handful of flawed studies and will only prevent scurvy, say researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. The RDA should be raised from the current recommended daily intake of 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men to 200 milligrams a day for all adults.
Vitamin C plays an essential role, and needs to saturate cells and tissues – but needs to be at a far higher level to do that. The impact on public health would be immense, say the researchers, and it could be achieved for around one penny a day.
As it is, many people around the world are deficient in the vitamin, and common symptoms include malaise, fatigue and lethargy. Higher levels of the vitamin can improve immune function, reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.
There are no side effects from taking a higher dose of around 200 milligrams, say the researchers.
(Source: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2012; 52: 815).