Many young Canadians are low in vitamin C

September 2, 2009 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Many young Canadians are low in vitamin C

As many as one in seven young Canadian adults may be vitamin C deficient, which could place them at increased risk for chronic health problems, according to a new study from the University of Toronto.

In this study, researchers gathered information on diet, ethnicity, vitamin C supplement use, height, weight, waist size, body mass, blood pressure, and physical activity for 692 non-pregnant women and 287 men living on a university campus.

Blood tests showed just more than half -- 53 percent -- had adequate levels of vitamin C, while 33 percent had less than optimal levels.

The remaining 14 percent - one in seven - had deficient levels, which were defined as less than 11 micromoles per liter of blood.

Women generally had higher blood levels of ascorbic acid than men, though dietary vitamin C intake was similar between genders. Also, women who were taking oral contraceptives had lower vitamin C levels than those who were not.

Those who were vitamin C deficient were also more likely to have larger waist girth and body mass, and higher blood pressure on average, according to the report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Deficient blood levels of antioxidant vitamin C is thought to be an indicator of inflammation and a number of chronic conditions including heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin C deficiency is easily prevented by eating vitamin C-containing fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits and peppers, or take supplements to reach recommended intakes of 90 and 75 milligrams a day for men and women, respectively.

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