Supplement versus Food Source

Fruits and vegetables are the primary food sources for vitamin C. Citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, tomato products, tomato juice, and potatoes are the most popular sources in the American diet. But vitamin C is also found in brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, spinach, and foods fortified with vitamin C. Time and condition of the growing season, growing location, cooking practices, and storage time before consumption can all affect the amount of vitamin C available from a food source. Table 5.2 lists common vitamin C dietary sources.10 Vitamin C bioavailability from food sources and dietary supplements appears to be similar and both have an estimated 70 to 90 percent absorption rate by the body. As expected, absorption rates do decrease when intake increases beyond physiological needs.11

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