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E. Vitamin C is a Crucial Supplement for Smokers

Narrator: This is Science Today. If you smoke, the first bit of health advice is obviously to quit. But barring that, researchers have discovered even modest amounts of a vitamin C supplement could dramatically raise a smoker's level of this disease-fighting antioxidant. Lynn Wallock of the University of California, Berkeley says unlike previous studies, she and her colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture separated the effects of diet and smoking on the level of antioxidants in the body.

Wallock: Both the smokers and the non-smokers were recruited for low fruit and vegetable intake. Virtually all of the constituents in the diet were similar, so what we were able to do was to isolate the effects of smoking.

Narrator: In doing so, researchers discovered that of all the antioxidants, only vitamin C was depleted by smoking and the smokers in particular had a very dramatic response to supplementation.

Wallock: But the message that we'd like to get across is that the supplementation was modest and that that could be achieved by improving the diet and the benefit of that is there are a lot of other helpful compounds in fruits and vegetables.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.