Vitamin C and the risk of Preeclampsia.





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Consumer Data: Vitamin C
Professional Data: Vitamin C


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is stored in many tissues throughout the body, but the adrenal glands contain the highest concentration. The best sources of this vitamin are fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits, strawberries, cantaloupe and currants. Fresh vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts, collard greens, lettuce, cabbage, peas, and asparagus are also good sources.

Vitamin C has been heavily researched for its role in a long list of functions in the body. First, it is involved with the production of collagen and elastin, which are necessary for the health of skin, tendons, joints, bones, teeth and blood vessels. Secondly, vitamin C functions as an antioxidant thus helping to limit damage to the body from free radicals. It also enhances the antioxidant activity of vitamin E. Vitamin C is important for production of the hormones that help the body respond to physical stress. Also, vitamin C may reduce some inflammatory reactions because it possesses anti-histamine activity. Finally, vitamin C can help the body rid itself of heavy metal toxins like mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel.

A recent study published in the journal Epidemiology, investigated the relationship between dietary vitamin C and the risk of preeclampsia in pregnancy. Plasma vitamin C levels were assessed in two groups of women, the case-control group which included 109 women with preeclampsia and the control group of 259 healthy women. Food questionnaires recorded the dietary intake of vitamin C in both groups during conception and pregnancy. The results showed that women consuming less than 85 mg of vitamin C daily had a doubled risk of preeclampsia, even after adjustments for age, BMI, and other factors. The authors concluded that, " Our results, if confirmed, would suggest that current public health efforts to increase intake of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants may reduce the risk of preeclampsia."1


1. Zhang C, et al. Vitamin C and the risk of preeclampsia- Results from Dietary Questionnaire and Plasma Assay. Epidemiology. Jul 2002; 13:409-416.