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What are the benefits of taking vitamins C and E together?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Two age-reducing vitamins, if taken together, are C and E. Although these vitamins exert powerful antioxidant activity, they may be producing their benefits through effects that are very different from antioxidation. Taken together, vitamins C and E help keep your cardiovascular system healthy by reducing the amount of harmful buildup on the walls of your arteries. In addition, vitamin C strengthens the immune system, improves both eye and lung function, and helps the body heal. Vitamins C and E, taken in combination, help keep the arteries relaxed and elastic. You can make your RealAge (physiologic age) one year younger by taking 600 milligram (mg) or more (up to 2,000 mg) of vitamin C a day as supplements (in divided doses of no more than 500 mg in any six hours) and 400 international unit (IU) of vitamin E a day, in addition to eating a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
There hasn't been much research on the benefits of taking vitamins C and E together versus taking them at different times. However, one 2004 study suggested that older people may be able to reduce their risk of Alzheimer's disease by taking the two vitamins together. The findings suggested that the protection occurs when the vitamins are taken in the high doses typical of individual supplements -- 500 to 1,000 micrograms (or more) of vitamin C and up to 1,000 IU of vitamin E. People in that study didn't seem to lower their risk of Alzheimer's disease if they took either vitamin alone.

Taking high doses of vitamin E may come with some danger, though. Other studies suggest that men who take vitamin E supplements of 400 IU a day may increase their risk of prostate cancer. So talk with your doctor before taking high doses, either with vitamin C or alone.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.