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Vitamin C: An Important Factor In Disease Prevention

As vitamins go, none have attracted the level of attention vitamin C has. It’s not a cure-all for colds as thought in the 1960s, but recent research says it has great potential for helping to prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It blocks damage to cells caused by free radicals that contribute to the development of disease. For it to function at its best, however, the National Institute of Health says cells must be fully saturated with vitamin C. That requires consuming about 400 milligrams per day.

The vitamin’s role as a component of collagen is less well known. Collagen is a component of skin, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and scar tissue. The vitamin C in collagen is vital for wound healing and the health of skin, bones, teeth, cartilage and all body tissues.

At the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the analysis of nine large studies shows that people who consumed more than 700 milligrams of vitamin C a day were 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease. To get that amount of vitamin C, you would have to take a 500 mg. supplement and eat at least two pieces of fruit each day.

Cancer experts believe that getting just 200 milligrams of vitamin C per day may protect against several cancers. The experts recommend receiving the vitamin from natural food sources.

People who are watching their weight should get about 500 milligrams of vitamin C a day, according to the Oregon State University lab. Researchers have found links between the level of vitamin C in blood and body fat, as well as waist measurements.

The best way to get 200 to 400 milligrams of vitamin C a day is by eating 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables daily.
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