Question

Vitamin C

How much vitamin C should I take each day?

A Answers (2)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Because vitamin C is water-soluble, it washes out of your body when you urinate. Therefore, it is important to get several doses of vitamin C a day. To get enough vitamin C, I recommend taking at least two, usually three, doses of vitamin C daily. I do this by combining food and supplements. In the morning, I take a multivitamin containing 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, have an orange or grapefruit at lunch, and take a multivitamin containing 500 mg of vitamin C with dinner (that multivitamin also has 200 international unit (IU) of vitamin E for breakfast and dinner), just to make sure I'm getting enough. I also get vitamin C from other things I eat, just in smaller amounts, such as tomatoes and salads. Vitamin C also tends to leech out of packaged or cut vegetables. In addition, cooking reduces vitamin C levels even more. That's another reason to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Also, eat some fruit or take some of your vitamin C one to two hours before any vigorous exercise. Vigorous physical activity causes oxidant buildup, and vitamin C's antioxidant power may be one of the ways that vitamin C works to keep you younger.
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  • ABill Salt, MD, Gastroenterology, answered
    Take at least 60 mg of this antioxidant daily and optimally 200 to 250 mg for optimum health (this is all that the body can use in a day). If your  multivitamin only includes 60 mg of vitamin C, then take an additional 200 mg. Don’t pay extra for “natural” vitamin C, since there is no difference in effectiveness or absorption between natural and synthetic L-ascorbic acid (the chemical name of vitamin C).
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