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E. Reaping The Benefits Of Vitamin C

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's been found that populations with lead toxicity also had low levels of vitamin C in their blood stream. Dr. Joel Simon, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco says although his study can't prove if vitamin C actually lowers lead levels, it wouldn't hurt populations at risk to increase their vitamin C intake.

Simon: At risk populations should increase their consumption of vitamin C principally through fresh fruit and vegetable consumption because that way, they get nutrients other than vitamin C that are important for the reduction of chronic disease. But I don't think it's unreasonable to take a multiple vitamin or even a small dose of vitamin C.

Narrator: Even populations not at risk of lead poisoning could take this message to heart.

Simon: As a society, Americans are actually going in the wrong direction in terms of fruit and vegetable consumption. The current public health recommendations are five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day and we're not doing well in that regard.

Narrator: If it does turn out that vitamin C can lower lead levels, Simon suggests this may lead to a simple, cost-effective way to help deal with lead poisoning. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.