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D. The Benefits of Vitamin C Supplementation

Narrator: This is Science Today. Vitamin C supplementation offers significant protection to people exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke. Gladys Block, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, found that taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C significantly reduced oxidative damage, which can lead to heart and lung disease.

Block: We know from other studies that people who are exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of heart disease, an increased risk of cancer and an increased risk of various lung diseases and so on. So what we were testing was, can these vitamin supplements lower your oxidative damage? And in fact, we found that it did.

Narrator: Block says no one can get the desired 500 milligrams from diet alone.

Block: Probably fifty percent of the population on any given day gets less than about 90 milligrams. So, eat your fruits and vegetables, but I think also take a vitamin supplement as an additional boost.

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