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Why vitamin RDA levels need to be doubled

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The recommended doses of vitamins we’re supposed to take are so low that they have almost no impact on our health, new research has found.

Some of the RDAs (recommended daily allowances) are based on poor science that’s nearly 80 years old, and are designed to prevent diseases of deficiency, such as scurvy, but do little to promote health and wellbeing.

The RDA for vitamin C, for example, should be doubled, say researchers from the University of Washington.  Currently, we’re supposed to take 45mg a day, according to recommendations from the World Health Organization, but this should be at least doubled to 95mg to support basic functions such as wound healing.

Exploring the origins of the RDA levels, the researchers uncovered a “shocking” research programme that took place during the Second World War on conscientious objectors.  In 1944, the Sorby Research Institute recruited 20 people who refused to fight and starved them of vitamin C before slowly introducing it by various levels to discover the optimum amount that was needed to help heal scar tissue.  The malnourished recruits faced life-threatening emergencies during the trial and may have suffered longterm problems, the researchers found.  The vitamin is vital for healthy immune system functioning, and helps maintain healthy bones, blood and skin.

But what is true for vitamin C is also true for every other vitamin; the RDA levels are way too low, and would explain why studies sometimes fail to see any benefits from taking supplements.

(Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2021; nqab262; doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab262)

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Article Topics: nutrition, vitamin C
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