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Vitamin C Deficiency and Depletion in the United States: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 to 1994

Objectives. We sought to determine prevalence rates of vitamin C deficiency and depletion in the United States.

Methods. We used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess intake of dietary, supplemental, and serum vitamin C.

Results. Mean intakes and serum levels of vitamin C were normal; however, vitamin C deficiency and depletion were common (occurring among 5%–17% and 13%–23% of respondents, respectively). Smokers, those who did not use supplements, and non-Hispanic Black males had elevated risks of vitamin C deficiency, while Mexican Americans had lower risks.

Conclusions. Health professionals should recommend consumption of vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C and should recommend supplementation for individuals at risk of vitamin C deficiency.