Vitamin C and the Prevention of Heart Disease, Type-2 Diabetes and Cancer

Vitamin C has many roles in our body. Today I want to talk about the genetic research, looking at its role in the prevention of developing heart disease, type-2 diabetes and cancer.  Researchers have discovered that the amount of vitamin C absorbed into the blood differs between people even when they consume the same amount.  They have discovered that some people do not process vitamin C from the diet as efficiently as others and may be at greater risk of developing a vitamin C deficiency.

The GSTT1 gene produces a protein from the glutathione S-transferase enzyme family.  These enzymes play a key role in the utilization of vitamin C.  If you have the deletion version of this gene, your body will not be able to process vitamin C as efficiently, and as a result, your blood levels will be lower.

I thankfully do not have this variant which means as long as I practice what I preach as a dietitian and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, I will get and absorb all the vitamin C my body needs. Women need 75mg per day and men 90mg.

Vitamin C in Your Diet

Sweet bell peppers actually have more vitamin C than oranges!

While oranges have a lot of vitamin C (averaging about 70mg for a navel orange) the winners are sweet bell peppers.

Red, orange or yellow have between 190-230mg of vitamin C in a one cup serving!

Green peppers come in second with an average of 90-120mg per cup.

Strawberries, average 79-100mg of vitamin C per cup.

And Papaya, grapefruit, mango and pineapple are also high sources of vitamin C


I am off on holidays next week and am taking my kids to a u-pick strawberry farm to pick strawberries and make homemade jam! How do you enjoy any of these vitamin C rich foods? 



Am J of Clin Nutrition 2009;90:1411-7

Euro J of Nutrition 2011;50:437-46