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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, February 04, 2010

RDA for Vitamin C is 10% of USDA Standard for Guinea Pigs
Are You Healthier than a Lab Animal?
Comment by Andrew W. Saul
Editor-In-Chief, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

(OMNS, Feb 4, 2010) The US RDA for vitamin C for humans is only 10% of the
government's vitamin C standards for Guinea pigs.

Wait a minute; that cannot possibly be true.

Can it?

The US Department of Agriculture states that "the Guinea pig's vitamin C
requirement is 10-15 mg per day under normal conditions and 15-25 mg per day
if pregnant, lactating, or growing." (1)

Well, that sounds reasonable. But how much is that compared to humans?

An adult guinea pig weighs about one kilogram (2.2 pounds). Guinea pigs
therefore need between 10 and 25 milligrams of C per kilogram.

In the US, an average human weighs (at least) 82 kg (180 lbs). (2)

That means the USDA's standards, if fairly applied to us, would set our
vitamin C requirement somewhere between 820 mg and 2,000 mg vitamin C per

The US RDA for vitamin C is different than that. Quite different.

It is lower. Much lower.

The US RDA for vitamin C for humans is 90 mg for men; 75 mg for women. (If
you smoke, they allow an additional 35 mg/day extra. Wow.)

Why are we humans repeatedly urged to consume only the RDA when the RDA is
one-tenth or less of that same government's official nutrient requirement
for an animal?

No wonder so many people are sick and no wonder their medical bills are so

If we are going to have health insurance coverage for everyone, wouldn't it
be nice for the government to first offer us the same deal it gives to
Guinea pigs?

(Andrew W. Saul taught nutrition, health science and cell biology at the
college level. He is the author of Doctor Yourself and Fire Your Doctor!
and, with Dr. Abram Hoffer, co-author of Orthomolecular Medicine for
Everyone and The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism. Saul is featured in the
documentary film Food Matters. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal
of Orthomolecular Medicine.)


(1) US Department of Agriculture Animal Care Resource Guide, Animal Care,

(2) National Center for Health Statistics In 2002, the average
weight for men in the United States was 191 pounds and for women was 164
pounds. Few would dispute that these weights have gone up significantly in
the last eight years.

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Editorial Review Board:

Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (Canada)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
James A. Jackson, PhD (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D (Sweden)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor and contact person. Email:

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