Are You Getting Enough Vitamin C?

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Raena Morgan: Hi, I'm visiting with Dr. Benjamin Weeks, who is a professor of Biology at Adelphi University, and we are talking about vitamin C and all of it's benefits.  Dr. Weeks, I'm sitting having my morning orange juice, and it says on the carton that you get 100 percent of your daily needs of vitamin C by that glass of orange juice. Is that really true?

Benjamin Weeks: Well, it may be.  It may be true.  However, as we are discovering and as we've talked about now on several occasions, there are increasing roles, we are discovering that vitamin C has increasing roles in the body.  

Morgan: Right.

Weeks: As we discover a greater number of roles for vitamin C in our body, there's actually a debate about how much vitamin C you need.  So as you drink your glass of orange juice in the morning, you may be getting 100 percent of your RDA.  But who's recommending that level and what's that recommendation based upon.  Again, as a scientist, you may be getting enough.  However, as we discover more roles for vitamin C, there's actually a debate as to how much vitamin C supplementation or how much vitamin C you really need to take in.  And you also then, need to remember to take in your glass of orange juice every day, so it goes back to lifestyle as well.  OK?  So, when you take your glass of orange juice in, that may be good for, for that time.

Morgan: For that morning.

Weeks: For that morning.  But you need to maintain healthy levels of vitamin C, and it's really not clear how much.  There are people who take three, four, five times the amount of the RDA. 

Morgan: Well isn't it a common amount 500 milligrams to a thousand milligrams?

Weeks: Generally people supplement with 500 to a thousand milligrams per day.  There are some firm believers in vitamin C who will go beyond that.

Morgan: Can you take too much?

Weeks: Yes, you can take too much.  Like anything, you can take too much.  If you get to 4 to 5 thousand milligrams per day, which is well above the RDA.  If you get to that level, there are some indications there could be kidney damage.  So you do need to be careful with any supplementation.

Morgan: From mega doses.

Weeks: Mega doses.  Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that when you take it in, you will be able to urinate it out and eliminate it from the body, or should I just say, when you take it in, you'll be able to eliminate it from your body very easily.  So it doesn't accumulate to high levels in the body and it's relatively difficult to overdose on vitamin C, but it can be done if  you set out to do it.

Morgan: So we just need to be moderate.

Weeks: Well, I can say that you may be getting enough with your morning glass of orange juice, you may not be. 

Morgan: OK, well maybe I will take a little more.  Thank you doctor Weeks.

Weeks: You're welcome.


Dr. Benjamin Weeks discusses the amount of vitamin C that you might get in your morning glass of orange juice. Is that really enough for the day or should you be getting more. He also talks about getting too much. Find out what that amount is and what may be the result.

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