By the way, doctor: What's the right amount of vitamin C for me?
Q. I'm 79 years old and have been taking 3,000 mg of vitamin C a day for years. I'm now uneasy about taking this amount and plan to cut back to 1,000 mg daily. Is this the right dose? Will my body be startled by the abrupt change?
A. Cutting back is a wise decision. You've been taking much more vitamin C than you need.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, plays a role in many vital functions, including metabolism and immunity. We can't make it in the body, so we need to get it from dietary sources. It's found in high concentrations in many fresh fruits and vegetables (see the chart); it's also available in most multivitamins and as a single-ingredient supplement.