Vitamin C for Cervical Dysplasia

Much less research has been done on this antioxidant vitamin and its potential role in protection from cervical dysplasia. A few studies have determined that women with low blood levels of vitamin C have a greater risk of cervical dysplasia compared to women with higher levels. Furthermore, cigarette smoke decreases the level of vitamin C in the body. One American study found a strong association between a woman’s history of smoking and her level of vitamin C, whether or not she had cervical dysplasia.6

In the section above on beta-carotene, I mentioned the results of a randomized controlled trial from Australia that did suggest vitamin C supplements in combination with beta-carotene increase the rate of regression of cervical dysplasia.

To see how much vitamin C women should be getting each day see the RDA table on page 11 in chapter 1. Also check out the Vitamin C in Foods table to find the best bets for food containing this antioxidant. You’ll notice that some foods with beneficial amounts of vitamin C—cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, tomato juice—are also good sources of beta-carotene and/or lycopene.

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Vitamin C Supplements If you don’t eat at least two vitamin-C-rich foods each day, a supplement is a good idea. Keep in mind, though, that fruits and vegetables contain many other natural chemicals that may work with vitamin C to keep you healthy. So even if you do take a vitamin C pill, I recommend that you still add foods rich in vitamin C to your daily diet. Here’s what you need to know about vitamin C supplements.

• If you’re looking for the most C for your money, choose a supplement labeled Ester C. Studies in the lab have found that this form of vitamin C is more available to the body.

• If you don’t like to swallow pills and prefer a chewable supplement, make sure it contains calcium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate. These forms of vitamin C are less acidic and therefore less harmful to the enamel of your teeth.

• Take a 500-milligram supplement once or twice a day. There’s little point in swallowing much more than that at once, since your body can use only about 200 milligrams at one time. If you want to take more, split your dose over the day.

• The daily upper limit for vitamin C has been set at 2000 milligrams to avoid diarrhea.

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