Vitamin C interactions with other nutrients

Vitamin C acts together with the other antioxidants, vitamin E and beta carotene in many body processes. High levels of vitamin C appear to increase blood levels of the other antioxidants and therapeutic effects appear to be greater when combinations of antioxidants are used. Vitamin C improves the stability and use of vitamin E. However, it may interfere with selenium absorption and supplements should be taken at different times.

Vitamin C may protect against the harmful effects of beta carotene supplements in smokers. Smokers tend to have low levels of vitamin C and this may allow a build-up of a harmful form of beta carotene called the carotene free radical which is formed when beta carotene acts to regenerate vitamin E. Smokers who take beta carotene supplements should also take vitamin C.

Vitamin C interactionsVitamin C aids in the body's absorption of iron by helping convert dietary iron to a soluble form. It helps to reduce the ability of food components such as phytates to form insoluble complexes with, and reduce the absorption of, iron. Vitamin C decreases the absorption of copper. Calcium and manganese supplements may decrease vitamin C excretion and vitamin C supplements may increase manganese absorption. Vitamin C also helps to reduce folic acid excretion and deficiency may lead to increased excretion of vitamin B6. Vitamin C helps to protect against the toxic effects of cadmium, copper, vanadium, cobalt, mercury and selenium.

Interactions with drugs

Large doses of vitamin C may increase estrogen levels when taken at the same time as the contraceptive pill. Oral contraceptives may increase requirements but supplements should be taken at a different time.

Aspirin, alcohol, antibiotics and steroids may increase vitamin C requirements. Vitamin C may be useful for preventing the development of tolerance to nitrate drugs which are often used to treat angina.

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Other Vitamins:

Vitamin A
Beta carotene
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Pantothenic acid
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Vitamin K