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Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for vitamin C

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Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) derived Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) for vitamin C. The Panel concludes that an Average Requirement (AR) can be derived from indicators of vitamin C status, as well as a Population Reference Intake (PRI) assuming a coefficient of variation (CV) of 10 %. Several health outcomes possibly associated with vitamin C intake were also considered but data were found to be insufficient to establish DRVs. For healthy adults, the AR is determined from the quantity of vitamin C that balances metabolic vitamin C losses and allows the maintenance of an adequate body pool characterised by fasting plasma ascorbate concentrations at around 50 µmol/L. In men, an AR of 90 mg/day of vitamin C and a PRI of 110 mg/day are proposed. As no value for metabolic losses is available in women, the AR for women is extrapolated from the AR for men on the basis of differences in reference body weight, and an AR of 80 mg/day and a PRI of 95 mg/day are proposed. For infants aged 7-11 months, the Panel has decided to retain the PRI of 20 mg/day set by the SCF (1993), as no suitable evidence has emerged since the previous assessment. For children and adolescents, the ARs for vitamin C are extrapolated from the ARs for adults taking into account differences in reference body weight, and PRIs are derived, ranging from 20 mg/day for 1 to 3 year-old children, to 100 and 90 mg/day for boys and girls aged
15-17 years, respectively. For pregnant and lactating women, vitamin C intakes of 10 mg/day and of 60 mg/day in addition to the PRI of non-pregnant non-lactating women are proposed.