Vitamins C and E pack a punch in moderation
Vitamins C and E are known for their role as antioxidants, helping mop up cell-damaging free radicals in the body.
How much of these important nutrients do you need on a daily basis? Do you need to take a supplement?
In the past, nutrient recommendations for vitamins C and E were based on preventing deficiency diseases. For vitamin C, 60 milligrams were recommended daily for men and women. For vitamin E, recommendations were 8 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences recently increased its recommendations for these two nutrients to promote their antioxidant role. At the same time, it set "tolerable upper intake levels" as a guide to how much is too much.
For years, researchers have sought to understand the role of antioxidants in reducing the risk of chronic disease. Many studies have shown a link between diets rich in foods containing antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, and lower incidence of certain chronic diseases. However, a direct link is unclear. Studies have shown that antioxidants can prevent or counteract cell damage that stems from oxidative stress. The leap to prevention has yet to be made. Taking large amounts of some antioxidants can cause health problems.