Cigarette smokers tend to have lower serum vitamin C levels than nonsmokers. This group is at greater risk for clinical vitamin C deficiency than the general population.


Hypovitamiinosis C was defined as a serum ascorbic acid concentration < 23 µmol/L, with a level < 11 µmol/L associated with a high risk of clinical deficiency.


Risk factors for vitamin C deficiency in a cigarette smoker:

(1) not taking a vitamin supplement with vitamin C

(2) eating less than 15 servings of fruits and vegetables per week

(3) moderate to heavy cigarette smoking (>= 1 pack per day)


Reasons for decreased levels of ascorbic acid:

(1) decreased absorption

(2) poor dietary habits

(3) higher levels of ethanol consumption

(4) higher metabolic turnover


An intake of vitamin C >= 200 mg per day was needed to provide blood levels of ascorbic acid comparable to a nonsmoker taking the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 60 mg per day.


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